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Over 3000 private schools catering to lower-income groups find the going difficult in COVID-19 crisis

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New Delhi, | July 8, 2020 1:11:49 AM IST
Over 3,000 private schools in Delhi, which largely cater to lower-income groups, are facing problems due to the situation created by coronavirus.

These schools cater to students in various stages of education though most of them are elementary and primary schools.

The school owners say that they are under a lot of financial pressure since March this year.

Sushil Dhankar, who runs Hari Vidhya Bhawan school in Sangam Vihar, said they are finding it difficult to pay salaries as they were not getting tuition fee from parents.

The school has about 2,000 students and fee ranges between Rs 1,000 to 2,500. It has about 80 staff members.

"We are in a very difficult situation but the worst situation is being faced by the teachers because they are not getting paid. This is directly linked with schools not receiving tuition fee from parents," he said.

Parents of these students are mostly from poor and lower-middle classes including auto-rickshaw drivers, domestic helps, truck drivers, small contractors, electricians and plumbers. These sections had very less work during lockdown which continued for almost two months.

"There are schools which could not pay teachers for three-four months. I appreciate teachers for continuing with their teaching and adapting to new requirements," Dhankar said.

He said they had written letters to the government to make it understand their situation.

"The government should come up with relief package or give direct benefit transfer to parents so that the schools continue functioning," Dhankar said.

He said 90 per cent of schools in the country are "budget schools".

Satyavir Singh Mavi, chairman, Developing Independent School Alliance, also said they were expecting help from the government.

He said in many cases the income of parents whose children study in these schools has gone down.

"The school management is doing every bit. There is a huge debt on many schools, many are on the verge of collapse. Closing down of budget schools will make a large section unemployed and create problems for students," he said.

Schools in northeast Delhi were earlier closed from February 25 to March 11 due to violence and were again closed on March 19 following the pandemic.

A school in Prahladpur has been asked to vacate the premises due to non-payment of rent.

The head of the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were finding it difficult to continue.

"I do not think we can continue with the school. How can I pay Rs 25000 rent and at the same time pay all the salaries while we are not receiving tuition fee from the parents? What shall we do?" he asked. (ANI)

 
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