Now Free Schools!

    December 21st 2010, 4:33am - Posted by Administrator

  • The current coalition government will be remembered for many things once they are out of the government. The coalition has stirred many issues and controversies right from the beginning of holding the office and have continued to introduce more and more from their limitless stock of absurd decisions in relation with public welfare.

    Last year in December, student protest in the wake of trebling tuition fees and reduction in education spending caused nation-wide protests and now there are credible news that next wave of protest is planned to be unleashed on January 29 by students. The latest ‘ludicrous' plan of the coalition government made public is new-style schools or free schools run by parents and private companies in their areas. The plan has already met strong rejections from parents and civil society within a few days of the plan being made public. Whereas a study conducted by National Union of Teachers reveals that a three-quarters of parents and a substantial number of teachers are unaware of the plans on free schools. Teachers, civil society and especially, parents have refused to consider the free school plan 'wanted or needed' under the prevailing conditions schools and education in the country. The stakeholders feel that it will create a destructive trend within the local societies.

    The disclosure of free schools plan has been one of the most controversial education reforms of the current government. The very basis of the plan are too absurd to let it happen and an absolute denial of the existing education system. The plan will allow parents, groups, charities, businesses and teachers to apply to open their own schools which will be funded by the government and have autonomy from local council control. Further, free schools will enjoy tremendous freedom in terms of hiring the services of teachers, which will not require any formal qualification for teaching. To make the matter worse, the government deemed no need to discuss the matter with the stakeholders and see if there is 'any glitch or unneeded' element in the plan. The government is on its plan to open the first 25 free schools in 22 local authorities from September this year.

    NUT, realizing how the government focus is on core-less education reforms, conducted a survey on free school reforms among 1, 021 parents and only 26 percent of them showed their support for the plan. 31 percent opposed the plan while 29 percent were indecisive to say if they support or oppose the new reform. The general secretary of NUT said over all result of the survey concludes that parents are not calling to set up free schools and have not reported any major issue with the current schooling system. She also said that the result of the survey is the indication against businesses running their children's schools. She strongly condemned such plans and termed them divisive and unaccountable.

    The whole matter of starting free schools, without bringing into the knowledge of stakeholders duly, has made it look a sinister plan. As NUT accuses the government of lacking transparency in planning and implementing reforms without informing the people directly affected by them, one has all the reason to whiff 'something fishy' in government's coffers.

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