Following the suspension of online classes by self-financed and grant-in-aid schools in Gujarat on July 23 for three days, the schools have announced the classes’ resumption from Monday onwards. The online classes were suspended after schools had protested the state government’s Government Resolution (GR) – dated July 16 but made public on July 22 – that directed schools to not charge fees for online classes until the physical reopening of schools.
Retracting from the earlier call by private schools for the indefinite suspension of online classes and demanding the state government to withdraw its GR, which were soon joined by grant-in-aid schools, the decision to resume classes also comes a day after the schools filed a writ petition in the Gujarat High Court (HC).
The decision to resume online classes was taken in a virtual meeting of three state associations of self-financed and grant-in-aid schools on Saturday evening. The schools will not be charging fees for the online classes resuming from Monday.
“We are resuming only the online classes and there will be no administration work. We will not be charging parents for these online classes,” said Bharat Gajipara, president of the Gujarat State Self Financed Schools Management Association.
Following the schools’ protest, the state government had assured the provision of online classes to students of private schools. However, stating that the protest against the state government’s GR continues, the associations of over 16,000 self-financed and grant-in-aid schools with over 50 lakh students declined to have had any communication with the state government.
“We have differences with the state government, so why should students be at the receiving end? There has been no communication with the state government,” Gajipara said.
However, the Gujarat State Schools Management Association wrote to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, on Saturday, to call representatives of all three associations – the Gujarat State Schools Management Association, the Akhil Gujarat Schools Management Association and the Gujarat Self Financed Schools Management Association – for talks in order to amicably resolve the issue.
In the virtual meeting of the Gujarat Self Financed School Management Association on Saturday, the consensus was that the state government’s GR is completely unreasonable, unjustified and disappointing for the education sector.
“We have expressed our resentment against the GR and are fighting it in the High Court. In the last two days, parents equested resuming online classes via social media, phone calls and messages. We continue to protest the state government’s decision, but keeping in mind these requests and after discussion with various educationists and academicians, we have decided that administrative work will be closed in all schools, but online classes will be resumed,” the official statement by the Gujarat Self Financed School Management Association stated.
In an attempt to build pressure on the state government to withdraw its GR regarding not levying tuition fees till schools don’t resume normalcy, the Association of Progressive Schools (AOPS) – a self-financed schools’ association – has announced the launch of a digital movement against the same on Sunday. The association sought support from educators, teachers, parents and students for its “#SaveOurSchools” campaign on Twitter.
Manan Choksi, former president of AOPS, said, “We have received tremendous support from parents and other sections of the society, backing the various initiatives taken by self-financed schools for the betterment of students’ education. A large number of parents have shown their disagreement towards the government’s GR on not levying fees till normal classes resume. Buoyed by their support, we are launching a digital campaign to get further support on a national scale. Coming together for the sake of the education fraternity in Gujarat is an important step to stop the shortsighted (move) which will have deep consequences.”
The association has invited educators, teachers, parents and students to join the ‘tweet storm’ scheduled between 2 pm and 6 pm on Sunday. AOPS had arranged a brief training session on Saturday to discuss what participants may write about the campaign.
“Coming together as a single voice, we stand in unison for our children… Social media is a powerful platform to share thoughts and ideas. In the past, we have seen how this has contributed towards better sense prevailing with policymakers and altering some devastating decisions made about school education,” added Choksi.