Gurcharan Das gave a keynote address at the annual meeting of the National Progressive Schools Conference which was followed by the speech of MHRD Minister Kapil Sibal. Sibal’s comments on the issues raised by Das led to several media stories.

Sibal agreed with Das that budget private schools should not be summarily closed down as it would affect the poor who rely most on these schools today adversely. He also commented that some of requirements for school recognition should be re-considered. Das had talked about two of them, one, the requirement to pay private school teachers at the same scale as government teachers and two, infrastructure norms like playground.  Sibal said that RTE Act does not require schools to pay at government scale, private management and teachers should decide on the pay scale.  As you can imagine the audience was stunned!

The two issues that need focused discussion are:

1. Should the government impose pay scale on private schools?

2. Should budget private schools for the poor be required to have playground to be recognised?