Pune: In a shocking incident, a sister and brother aged 8 and 7 years were rusticated from Lion’s Club Education Association English Medium School, Dehu Road, due to non-payment of school fees.
Meherban Singh, the children’s father, received leaving certificates of his children through Speed Post. The certificates said the reason was non-payment of fees. The remarks on the certificates mentioned that the girl had passed and was promoted to Std III and the boy was promoted to Std II. However, they were asked to discontinue their education from June 7.
“My daughter took admission in 2015 and my son was admitted in 2016. From 2015, they kept changing the fee structure. It was initially Rs 500 per month, it was then raised to Rs 650. Besides, they charge extra for delay in payment by Rs 100, which was later charged at Rs 3 per day. Since then, I had started protesting against their unprecedented 30 per cent fee hike. Both times, during admissions, I had to pay Rs 7,000 as donation,” said Singh, who runs a family business associated with Military Engineering Services (MES) at Dehu Road.
Singh said that this was not the first time that the school had treated his children badly. In July 2017, the children were intentionally sent home by the order of Zilla Parsihad (ZP) Education Officer Mustaq Shaikh, the complaint letter given to Dehu Road police station states.
On June 17, 2018, Singh filed a complaint against the school for violating the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The complaint letter said that Singh has reported complaints with the Deputy Director of Education (DyDE), Pune Division, over illegal increment of fees, illegal collection of late fees, physical and mental harassment of the children and monopoly of Lion’s Club Committee Members and the head mistress of the school, Savita Uttarkar.
Minakshi Raut, DyDE, had issued a warning letter to the school on April 20, stating that the school will be charged under SS code 1979 and RTE Act 2009, section 13, 16, 17 and 32 and Corporal Punishment Act, section 35, along with Maharashtra Academic (Fees Regulation) Act, 2011 if no rectification of their conduct is made.
On June 14, Raut had again issued a letter stating that the school should not force parents to pay any illegally charged fees. Also, as per the Maharashtra Academic (Fees Regulation) Act, 2011 and RTE Act 2009, section 16, 17, without attempting any kind of violation, the students should be allowed to continue their school immediately.
However, the school has not yet allowed the students to attend classes. Instead, Singh alleged that the students were made to sit separately or kept outside the class for all lectures and has given discriminatory treatment.
“The school was demanding about Rs 29,000 for both children as fees. But I agreed to pay a total of around Rs 18,000 and agitated that the amount is being wrongly charged by them. Yet, they refused to continue their admission,” added Singh.
While Savita Uttarkar’s number was switched off, the president of the organisation didn’t reply to calls even after repeated attempts.