Schools threaten boycott of SSC, HSC exams over
Nagpur: One of the biggest associations of school trusts has threatened to boycott SSC and HSC examinations if non-salary grants are not released by the government as per Bombay high court’s (HC) order.
Maharashtra Rajya Shikshan Sanstha Mahamandal (MRSSM) has written to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, reiterating pending non-salary grant (NSG) dues and the problems faced by schools due to the backlog.
Since aided schools are not allowed to charge fees as their staff salaries are paid from state treasury, a separate allocation of NSGs is given so that expenses like electricity, water and building maintenance are met.
MRSSM executive member Ravindra Fadnavis said the court’s order came in 2017 and the government paid schools till 2019, after which “not a single penny” had come. “NSG is given based on a set formula. It is around 5% of the total salary given to a school. But this percentage is calculated on Fifth Pay Commission level, whereas Seventh Pay Commission is applicable now. HC had directed the government to calculate NSG on existing payscale, but the state has not done so,” said Fadnavis.
In the same letter, MRSSM has also placed a couple of other demands which are applicable to unaided category of schools. “RTE reimbursement for many private schools has been pending and the education department is least bothered. Schools are not asking for something extra, their demand is for what is legally due,” added Fadnavis.
Boycotting SSC and HSC exams means the state board will face a huge logistical challenge. Fadnavis said, “Our schools and junior colleges are used as exam centres. We simply won’t give them custody of our premises.”
He added, “This massive board exam operation works because of the personnel we provide. Thousands of teachers are involved as invigilators and evaluators. We will not allot these duties to our staff, so there is no way the exam process can move forward”
This is not the first time an association has threatened boycott of board exams, and in the end a middle path is worked out. This time, however, the association seems to be in an aggressive mood. Fadnavis said, “If they don’t even listen to HC’s order then what can one say. We have to ensure justice for our members.