Pune: In a shocking incident, a city-based parent was asked for a donation of Rs 2.5 lakh, in addition to school fees of Rs 80,000 for admission of her son in pre-nursery class at the reputed Hutchings School in Camp.
The agitated parent posted her experience on a Facebook group of women in Pune, which got a huge traction. A couple of other women from the city shared similar experiences.
Speaking to Sakal Times, the parent, on condition of anonymity, said, “Yesterday (on Monday, March 13), I received an email from Hutchings School regarding my son’s admission. We were asked to come to the school and accordingly the next day we went there. The security guard was rude and did not allow us entry for some time. Later, instead of taking us to the school office, the guard took us to the backside of the Accounts Office building, where a lady from the Accounts department asked us for donation of Rs 2.5 lakh. They said the management was compulsorily taking the donation from all the parents as the school is planning a football ground. When we asked what if we are not able to pay the whole amount, they said that in that case, the admission will not be done.”
The parent said she felt cheated. “I would not have sought admission in Hutchings School if I had to pay lakhs of rupees as fees. We chose this school because of its reputation, and it has less number of students per classroom. However, now I would not want to admit my child to such a school,” she said, adding that earlier, a parents in her housing society had warned her of this, but she had ignored it.
Reacting to the same, Rita Katwati, Principal, Hutchings School said, “A similar kind of issue surfaced last year as well. I would like to state that the donation amount is not compulsory for all and it’s part of the corporal funds, and as far as I know, the parents can pay it voluntarily.” However, what the principal calls voluntary isn’t really so, as more parents, in the past have faced such an issue with the same school.
A parent, who faced the same issue in 2013 wrote on Facebook, “When I got a call for my son’s admission, I was asked to pay a certain amount which was not part of school fee. When I asked them for the reason behind paying that amount, they were rude and not willing to give any explanation. I decided not to go for the admission.” Commenting on the issue, city-based school reviewer Madhurie Singh wrote on the post, “Refuse admission to such schools. What ethics can they impart? But the important question is, ‘Is there any school that is ethical?’ Not that I have come across in my 13 years of school reviewing and admission consulting. So one has to make a choice to pay and be part of the shameful act or chuck the admission and start wandering.”