Telangana RTC strike fallout : Schools, Colleges can lose license if they teach

“There will be school for 10th class students from 16.10.2019. Time 8 am to 12.45 am. Pls come in civil dress”

“Dear Parent, Tomorrow (16.10.2019) onwards school will work only for X class students. Please send your children in civil dress. No transport.”

Why are schools in Hyderabad sending such hush-hush messages, asking students not to wear uniform? Why don’t they want anyone to know that class X students are having classes? It needs some special talent to make education seem like a criminal activity.

Welcome to Hyderabad. The government felt that students may not be able to travel to school in light of the RTC strike that has been on in Telangana since 5 October. So the best way was to extend the Dussehra vacation till 20 October. And ironically, the Education department took it upon itself to ensure the institutions did not flout the ruling.

How was this done? With the help of overeager activists who reported schools and colleges that decided to conduct classes only for those students who have to appear for Board exams in four months from now or sit for the IIT-JEE in January 2020. Helping them in the cause was the musclepower provided by youth organisations of political parties, cutting across party lines, for who this has turned out to be an opportune time to earn significant pocketmoney. 

After three days of trying to ensure classes were held this week, the schools and colleges have given up. Most of them have decided to fall in line and remain shut till Monday. This has meant that educational institutions have been on official vacation from 28 September upsetting the entire curriculum plan. Given that Diwali falls next weekend which would necessitate days off before and after, October will be practically a wash-out, with the teaching getting no momentum.

What does it tell us about the system? That the state that sees one in every three students failing to clear the Intermediate (class 11 and 12) exam, gives priority to closure over education. That instead of telling the student that come what may, I will ensure that you are able to reach your classroom safely and on time, the state asks the students to stay off and penalises institutions that make an effort to teach. How can gen-next and its interest not be priority for any state? 

The question is why should students have to pay for the government’s inability to ensure buses ply. The question is what happens if the strike continues beyond 20 October. Will the government continue to hold the academic year to ransom, making students lose precious time? 

The Education department has warned institutions that held classes earlier this week that they could face punitive action including withdrawing their license. If that happens, it will be the first time a school or college will lose a license for teaching. 

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