After Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) School, Chembur asked parents of students to pay between Rs. 9,500 and Rs. 10,000 for books, parents have complained to the Forum for Fairness in Education, claiming the school gets free textbooks under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan scheme for students up to Class 8.
Parents said the school made it compulsory to purchase the books and new uniforms from the school itself, instead of a shop, for the purpose of uniformity.
School manager Father Paul Julius said the amount also covered year-round expenses for sports, events and trips. However, parents said teachers informed them the “book money” was to be paid before results were announced on April 27.
“The school is charging exorbitantly just for 20-25 books, and we are afraid they will hold back students’ mark sheets if the money is not paid. The money is collected in the classrooms by the teachers and no receipt is being issued,” said a parent.
Father Paul said the school has taken the step with the approval of the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA). “Parents send their children without textbooks since often, dealers run out of stock. So we decided to give them textbooks,” he said. For those who cannot afford to pay, the school offers concessions, he added.
However, experts say it is illegal for schools to sell such items inside their premises. The Forum had filed a PIL in the Bombay high court in 2004. The HC had directed that no school shall sell books, uniforms, stationery or study material in the school premises and the school should not force parents to purchase these items from a specific shop.