With a new academic year in schools set to begin, a number of private schools have started to rise their fee structures. The recent protest by a number of parents against the management of a renowned CBSE school has once again brought the issue to the fore.
According to the parents of the school, the school management is believed to have reportedly hiked the bi-monthly fee by over 25% all of a sudden, claiming recruitment of staff, development of school buildings, landscaping activities etc. The school management has also forced the parents to buy school shoes, two pairs — black and white — each for ₹2,500.`
A massive protest was staged by about 200 parents against the increase in fee structure and rule of buying shoes in the school. Though the management withdrew its decision about shoes, it is yet to give a statement on the fee structure.
As per the parents, the yearly fee for a Class V student in the year 2018 was around ₹45,720 excluding other caution deposits, etc. but as the student was promoted to Class VI in this 2019, the annual fee has gone up to about ₹56,400, which is almost over 19% increase. Similarly, the fees of other classes have also been hiked without intimation.“We have decided not to pay school fee till May 31, 2019,” said a parent from the school.
“ We will soon take the issue to the notice of the Collector and the District Educational Officer (DEO),” said another parent.
Not just this, even many schools have increased the fees by 20%. A few schools have been forcing the parents to buy even notebooks at higher rates on the school premises.
Even the yearly fee for kindergarten kids is also differed from around ₹60,000 to ₹1 lakh, which the parents need to pay in a couple of instalments.
What norms say
As per the RTE Act, a collection of large amount of fee and forcible purchase of goods, bags, etc on the school premises amounts to violation of child rights. Meanwhile, every district should have a District Fee Regulatory Committee (DFRC) to monitor the fee system. However, no such committee is formed in Visakhapatnam district.
State Convener AP-RTE Forum Mr Narava Prakasa Rao, said not just in Visakhapatnam district, even in other districts, DFRCs were not constituted.
“Many school managements have been violating rules. Every year, the school managements have been increasing the fees arbitrarily. I have written a letter to the Mr Adityanath Das, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education, Government of A.P. over the latest point at issue,” he said. Attempts by the parents proved futile as the private school management failed to sort out the issue of fee hike on Friday. Andhra University Student Union leader A Hemanth Kumar, who is also a member of the school parents committee, said that they have staged a hunger strike on Friday and the strike would continue on Monday.
Source: The Hindu