While welcoming the decision of the Telangana government to reopen all educational institutions from September 1, the principals of the state’s private budget schools have requested monetary support in the form of unsecured loans to help them overcome the financial distress resulting from their closure for almost 18 months. .
According to the Association for the Management of Recognized Schools of Telangana (TRSMA), around 3,500 privately funded schools are closed and around a lakh of teachers from these schools have changed professions to support their families. In Telangana, about 9,500 out of a total of 11,500 private schools are classified as budget schools. These schools accommodate around 33 lakh students.
“After the Telangana government announced that students would be promoted to the next class without compulsory attendance or assessment, nearly 75% of students stopped attending classes. About 50 percent of these schools could not provide online courses. Many students are inaccessible. Many have started working with their parents for a daily wage. To date, 3,500 private schools with limited budgets in Telangana have been closed, ”Madhusudhan Sadula, general secretary of TRSMA and national vice president of the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), told indianexpress.com.
Speaking to the press, Dr Kulbhushan Sharma, National President of NISA, pointed out that the grim situation has led many school owners across the country to commit suicide. He said about 30 million people associated with education and related sectors have been affected across the country due to the school closures.
Pradeep, 30, who ran a budget school in the Jagtial district of Telangana and a young couple, Subramaniam and Rohini, who ran a school in Koilkuntla, Andhra Pradesh, had recently committed suicide, unable to cope with the financial constraints. “These are not suicides. These are institutional killings due to political failures. In today’s scenario, it is not easy to run a school budget and we no longer need deaths, ”said Sharma, demanding government support.
“Schools have been closed for a long time. Over a thousand teachers have found other professions and students are not interested in education. It’s an educational emergency, ”Madhusudhan added.
TRSMA State President Yadagiri Shekhar Rao called on parents to send their children to school without any concerns. “We are ready to open schools, duly following all Covid protocols. It is our responsibility. But we want the government to support schools with an unsecured loan of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh to stand up, ”he added.
According to TRSMA, these schools are mostly run from rented space. As they have been closed for 18 months without any operations, the owners have not been able to pay rent, electricity costs, property taxes and IMEs for loans used for establishment and expansion.
The association called on the state government to extend the moratorium period for all schools’ existing loans by one year. Many school owners have received loans from private financiers and are victims of harassment for not being able to repay them. “The Center has now extended support under the Micro and Small Business Credit Guarantee Trust Fund (CGTMSE) to traders as well. It should also be extended to schools, ”he said.
As the Telangana government has yet to issue guidelines for reopening private and public educational institutions, management called for a comprehensive policy to allow schools to operate while containing the spread of Covid-19. NISA and TRSMA have called for an investigation into the death of school owners and demanded an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh from the families of the deceased.