Fund collection from guardians for ‘Vidyajyoti’ schools creates controversy , many guardians protest

By Our Correspondent

Agartala, May 13, 2022

The provision for collection of a host of fees and charges from guardians of students enrolled in the one hundred ‘Vidyajyoti’ schools in the state has created a major controversy with many guardians belonging to the poorer sections of society protesting the fees and charges imposed on them. In clause-20 of the ‘detailed guidelines for ‘Vidyajyoti Schools’ under Mission 100 notified by the state government on 27th October last year , it is clearly stated that “an infrastructure development fund will be built up in the school and development charges of Rs 1000.00 per annum will be paid by every student into this fund”. In this very guideline the principals have been ‘empowered to waive off the fees for any student whom he feels is unable to pay for the same’. Sources in education department said that students belonging to poor and BPL families can be exempted from payment of the charge. Besides, in a bizarre decision the guideline has decided to encourage parents, community, panchayats and local clubs etc to donate in kind and cash to the schools for Infrastructure Development and accounts for this will be separately maintained.

But the guideline on the contribution to the infrastructure development fund has already triggered a controversy as a large number of guardians in the ‘Vidyajyoti’ schools are in no position to pay up the amounts fixed to the fund annually.

What has worsened the situation is the variable rates at which the fees for the infrastructure development fund will be realized. The most glaring instance in this regard is a circular issued by M Ruma Rani Deb, Teacher in Charge of Umakanta Academy (primary section). In the circular dated May 11, the Teacher in Charge has fixed Rs 1270.00 each for students in class-I per annum, Rs 1345.00 each for students in class II per annum, Rs 1395.00 each for students of classes III,IV and V per annum. This has created resentment among guardians who feel that the entire scheme is designed to benefit a number of dubious NGOs from outside the state who have been minting money in various ways.

Apart from this, the state government’s guideline makes no reference to facilities to the provided for study of special, physically or mentally retarded children. Nothing has been mentioned about about special seating arrangement, bathroom and carriage facilities which will make it impossible for special children to study in the ‘Vidyajyoti’ schools.

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