The All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) staged a protest to save the privatisation /closing down of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) run schools across India, here in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. DRDO unions are aware that the headquarters have unilaterally decided to close down the DRDO schools. Ramanath Secondary School is one of the DRDO aided schools, established in NSTL, Visakhapatnam.
The Union members, staff of Ramanath Secondary School, NSTL, Visakhapatnam, are shocked by the Centre’s decision to stop funding all the DRDO aided schools. Following the Centre’s decision, the NSTL School under the DRDO is trying to transfer the management to private institutions. A few schools aided by DRDO are on the verge of closing due to a lack of support (financial –aid ) from the DRDO Headquarters.
This policy decision to terminate the central funding of DRDO run schools after March 31 2022, has set a panic state for the school staff. As the stakeholders of the school providing education to more than 400 students for nearly 40 years now cannot seem to comply with this untimely decision. The school management is making efforts to continue the running of the school but the pay and allowances of teaching and non-teaching staff are uncertain. With the fate of students and teachers on the line, they have been protesting to ensure that their concerns are recognised.
In conversation with the President of NSTL CE Union, CHVSN Murthy, it was also learned that the management of the school has been facing multiple issues for quite some time. Teachers were being employed on a contract basis with meagre salaries impeding the quality of education. The DRDO has already planned to close 4 such schools across the country with no prior notice. With no alternative to such quality education, the lives of many students are seen to be at stake.
“The prestigious educational institution has groomed many doctors, engineers, and has also lent a helping hand to many underprivileged children. Eminent people from the state who can afford to pay for private education have opted to join their children at the DRDO school for its promised quality. We have seen many generations pass out from here and will not let the school shut down without a proper fight.” says Murthy.
Out of the total budget allotted to the DRDO, the amount that needs to be spent on schools is 0.001 per cent. This sudden move from the centre to stop the financial assistance is against the right to education granted by the Constitution. The welfare policy of education is responsible for educating the wards of NSTL employees and catering to the B.P.L children who solely depend on these schools for quality education, opines the union,
The NSTL Union has collectively decided to write a letter to Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence of India, and G. Satheesh Reddy, Chairman of the DRDO. They have requested all parents, employees, former students to take part in this protest and save the school from being closed.