Loot in the name of education!

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Parents of students at a city school raise voice against incessant fee hike

Pune: There is no end to the parents' woes in this city known as Oxford of East. The arbitrary fee hikes by various schools leading to parents' agitation seem to be an ongoing dispute since time immemorial. 

In a recent incident, parents of GK Gurukul School in Pimple Saudagar have come together to fight against the incessant fee hike that the school has been imposing for the past few years.

Speaking to Sakal Times on the issue, one of the members of the GK Gurukul Parents Association, on condition of anonymity, said that the school has no fee structure. “The school doesn't give us a proper fee structure. The school management charges fees according to the background of the child. The group of parents, who are agitating, have been charged differently by the school," said a parent.

He further added, “The school has hiked the fees by nearly 8 to 9 per cent. While even our salaries do not get hiked by such a huge margin every year. Presently, for admissions to Class I, we need to pay Rs 85,000 as fees, along with Rs 25,000 admission fees. Moreover, extra charges have to be paid for the transport, uniform and other stuff.”

Another parent also added that despite charging such high fees, the quality of education and security provided by the school is questionable. “Last April, when I admitted my child to the school, the building and ground construction was going on, which they said would be completed by December 2017. However, the work is still not complete. Moreover, as far as the security of the students is concerned, neither does the school have enough CCTV cameras installed in the premises nor does it inform parents in time even after children faced serious injuries while playing in school."

“The school, however, is not ready to roll back the fee hike. I have two kids in the same school and it becomes impossible to pay such high fees. Besides that, the school representatives misbehave and speak rudely with us,” another parent said.
Recently, School Education Minister Vinod Tawde stated that support of 25 per cent of the parents is enough to oppose the school fee hike. The agitated parents insist they are more than 30 per cent in number, and as per the minister's statement, their grievances need to be heard by the Education Department. 

Meanwhile, as per Tawde's statement, 25 per cent of the school's parents can come together and approach the Divisional Fee Revision Committee (DFRC) against a school's proposed fee hike. The decision was made after adopting the recommendations made by a State-appointed committee led by retired judge VJ Palshikar.

The parents' group at Gurukul is holding meetings every day and trying to gather as many of them as possible, to raise voice against the school management. However, the group has yet not decided whether they will approach DFRC or not.

The school authorities remained unavailable for comment despite several attempts to contact them. 

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