| File picture of parents of DAV students protesting against fee hike on Nayapalli road in Bhubaneswar |
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 25: Parents have decided to take on the mantle of teachers if the 42 DAV public schools in the state, which have been closed for an indefinite period, do not reopen next week.
DAV teachers have shunned classes following an alleged assault on the principal of DAV-CDA, Cuttack, by a section of agitating parents over the controversial fee hike issue.
“We cannot let them have their way. If they do not resume classes, we will ensure that the students are taught. We will teach them,” said Mahendra Parida, a parent and member of the All-Odisha DAV Parents’ Coordination Committee.
The members termed the alleged attack on the principal as a “blatant lie designed to draw sympathy from the public”. They have also made an appeal to other parents not to pay the enhanced fee under pressure from the school authorities.
“Most people are paying the fees at hiked rates in a state of panic just because their wards are in higher classes and they do not want any disturbance in their studies, especially with the board exams round the corner,” another member said.
“DAV was given land by the state government that was meant for children belonging to middle-class and lower-class families. We urge the government to stop being a silent spectator and immediately intervene,” said Parida, adding that denying education to students was a violation of the Right to Education Act.
The parents demanded the immediate arrest of the police personnel who dragged and manhandled woman members of the association who were staging protests. “Despite repeated requests, the DCP could not arrange for a meeting between the two parties. Instead, he argued on behalf of the school authorities and instructed the police personnel of the local police station to arrest the parents,” said Parida.
The association said the state government should give strict instructions to the schools failing which they should not be allowed to run, and also to take over the “illegal” management of the schools until a new management was constituted under the Orissa Education Act.
They also demanded that the state government bring in a new legislation to regulate private English medium schools like those in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
On the other hand, school authorities appeared unmoved by the protests. “We demand action against the assaulters and an assurance from the police that safe and secure environment would be provided to female staff members,” said DAV Unit-VIII principal Bhagyabati Nayak.