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The Financial Express

The volatility of selling a school

| Updated: July 12, 2020 21:46:27


The volatility of selling a school

Notices or adverts on the sale of business entities, plots or buildings are a common view in the country. But the notice for the sale of a whole school, including its furniture, is a stunningly rare spectacle.

A photograph published in the FE on July 08 shows a poster-size notice, which is pasted on the iron-gate of what looks like a school. The photograph has been supplied by an online news agency. The notice says a school is up for sale including its furniture. The address below mentions the name of a kindergarten school at a housing estate in Dhaka's Mohammadpur area. As could be understood from the photo caption, the school authorities were struggling to survive amid the raging novel coronavirus pandemic.

The fate of the child learners and the teachers and staff of the school could not be ascertained. Nor could one be sure of the current status of the school. All educational institutions of the country are at present in the phase of a prolonged closure. It could be presumed that attendance of students at the said pre-primary school is a redundant issue to the authorities. What matters most to them is their being deprived of the largest source of income - tuition fees. It's unclear if the management is worried about the reality that the long absence of students from classes might hamper their career-blossoming.

On the other hand, a section of guardians might feel relieved due to the fact that they do not have to count a fat amount of money in monthly tuition fees. But they cannot extricate themselves from the anxieties over their kids' future. Besides these, there is yet another party - the teachers, who emerge as the worst sufferers in the present stalemate. Many may have counted days with patience for the depressing times to be over soon. But their wait has visibly proved elusive.

Like seen at many schools in the urban and rural areas, students are least bothered about the present adverse situation. So are the teachers at government schools. But manynon-government and private school teachers, mainly in the cities, continue to feel perturbed. The problem begins with the timely payments of salaries. This privilege eludes teachers at the fully privatised schools, especially during the present closure period. It is the managing committees at the kindergarten schools who fix the salaries of their teachers. There are allegedly no formal pay structures in place in this regard. As a consequence, discrimination in salaries remains a constant irritant at these schools.

It has yet to be known whether the kindergarten school management in Mohammadpur has cleared all the dues of the teachers, now that it is preparing to wind up its institution. As could be seen in scores of schools, including the government ones, salaries of teachers are being curtailed during the corona-time. Irregular payment of salaries and other benefits has become the norm. The reason the teachers at government-run and MPO-listed schools are still getting the monthly salaries of sorts is due to the fact that the money comes from the government.

The privately-run upscale and mid-level schools are deprived of this opportunity. Lots of kindergartens have long stopped paying their teachers. Schools are not operating due to the Covid-19-prompted closure - in place to ensure physical distance. Teachers' salary fund-flow comprising the students' tuition fees thus remains shut.

The curricular adversities awaiting the students of the about-to-be-sold kindergarten constitute a unique problem. In case the school is sold out, the career of many students is feared to be thrust into uncertainty. Before the school is transferred to a new management, the authorities must ensure that all its students got enrolled in another kindergarten, and the teachers were paid their arrears. This imperative applies to all such dysfunctional schools.

shihabskr@ymail.com

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