Bangalore: suspense continues over school closures

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Sep 21 13:40:33 UTC 2006

BANGALORE: For once, children are not looking forward to their Dussehra
vacation, for they do not know if they will return to their schools,
teachers and friends. There is chaos and confusion everywhere. Principals
are not certain if classes can go on post-Dussehra, teachers are not sure
if they have a job next month and parents don't know what to do. The state
government's decision to close down over 1,400 schools across the state
for violating the language policy has hit teachers and school managements.

But, the worst hit are the lakhs of students, not just academically, but
also psychologically. Take Udayashankar, a Class III student of a school
in Ulsoor which received the order from the department on Tuesday. His
biggest worry is having to get used to a new benchmate. There is
uncertainty among teachers as well. "We have no clue what will happen to
our jobs. Hopefully, there are vacancies in schools that the government
proposes to shift us to," a teacher at a school in D J Halli said.

When TOI visited some of these schools on Wednesday, the fear was
palpable, but school managements were playing down the issue. "We do not
want to scare the students and parents. We are confident that nothing will
happen and are taking up the issue with Karnataka Unaided School
Managements' Association," P N Nair, president of Ayyappa School Trust,
said. What is tragic is that most of the parents are blissfully unaware of
what lies ahead, simply because they are illiterate. And, most of the
students who study in these 'to-be-closed-down-institutions' are from
economically weaker sections.

"Most of our students are children of class IV employees who cannot afford
convent education." "Often, parents insist that we teach English, so that
their children can aspire to hold better positions in life," a
headmistress explained. But some parents are determined to ensure that
their children are not deprived of English education though they are
worried if the children will be able to cope in a new school, especially
in the middle of the academic year. In some cases the education department
officials are refusing to hand out the closure orders to schools.


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