Mumbai: Schools ask government to vouch for its money by issuing vouchers
Not being able to bear the burden of financial loses due to RTE reimbursement issues for the past four years, private schools of the city have urged the government to issue school vouchers. Schools are of the opinion that through the voucher system, the government would have to send the amount (approximately Rs 17,329 per student) directly to the parents’ bank accounts. This would make the government accountable to the parents and schools would not be the ultimate sufferer.
For more accountability
The members of Federation of Unaided Private Schools’ Association of Maharashtra met Education Secretary Nand Kumar on Thursday to put forward the demand for school vouchers, as according to them it would help to make the reimbursement process smoother and more transparent. Through this system the government can directly give a voucher of the amount it would spend on each child’s education to the parents, who can then decide on the choice of school.
Vice-President of Federation of Unaided Private Schools’ Association of Maharashtra Bharat Malik said, “Schools are not being paid for the past four years. Hence the loss that they are facing under RTE is becoming unmanageable.”
He further said, “Private schools are not against RTE, but we believe that vouchers will be a better option as it will make the quality of education more accountable. Through this system government has to give the money directly to parents.”
While some schools feel that the voucher system is the ultimate solution, others feel it would not be a good option to drag the parents into the system.
Principal of Meridian School in Kalyan Vinod Kulkarni said, “The quality of education imparted by private schools is much better than that of government schools. The government is neither ready to reimburse us, nor does it want to introduce the voucher system, because then it would be answerable to the parents.”
“It is true that schools are suffering for not being paid by the government. But parents of underprivileged children should not be dragged into the reimbursement issue,” said the Principal of Gokuldham High School in Goregaon.
Doesn’t suit India
State education minister Vinod Tawde said, “It is not possible to implement the voucher system in India. I am working on the reimbursement issue and schools will soon receive the money.”
Shifting the burden
Arun Kejriwal, father of a student said, “Private schools want to burden us with the reimbursement system. If we had money to pay the schools in advance, why would we opt for RTE? If parents become the ultimate sufferer, then RTE has no value.”