Pune: After two years of continuous battle against fee hike, parents of students in Vibgyor High School, Kondhwa and Magarpatta campus heaved a sigh of relief as the Deputy Director of Education (DyDE) finally directed the Education Officer of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to take legal action against the school for unprecedented fee hike and ill-treating the students.
Deputy Director, Education, Ramchandra Jadhav directed the PMC Education Officer to take action against the school for violating rules and regulations under sections 16 to 20 of Maharashtra Educational Institution Fee Regulation Act, 2014.
Further, they have to act in accordance with Secondary School (SS) Code, 1979, sections 13,16, 17 and 32 (corporal punishment), RTE Act 2009, Section 35, discrimination and mental harassment of children of complainants Prajakta Pethkar, Gunjan Mehta and Rujuta Mahajan.
Early this year, the school issued letters to some parents threatening that their students will be de-enrolled from the school. Taking cognisance of it, on February 2, Deputy Director of Education Dinkar Temkar issued a letter addressing the Education Officer, Zila Parishad to keep an eye on Vibgyor High School.
The letter stated it violates the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, that stipulates under section 16 and 17 (1) ‘no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education or no child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment. According to Section 35 (1) ‘advisory for eliminating corporal punishment in school’.
On March 12, DyDE imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the school under Section 16 of Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulations of Collection of Fee) Act, 2011.
The fight against the illegal conduct of the school began in 2016 when Prajakta Pethkar first raised objection against an increase in fees. Later, 1,500 parents from both campuses joined her in the battle.
Pethkar said, “As per the Fee Regulation Act, the government allows any school to revise its fees in a span of two years by 15 per cent. But Vibgyor has been increasing the fee by 25-30 per cent for past few years. Every board and class has a different fee structure. Moreover, despite charging the hefty amount they do not provide facilities like books, materials, transportation etc.”
Pethkar added, “We will ensure that the FIR is lodged.”