Even as the row over granting minority status to city schools intensifies, a minority school, Kids R Kids, Sector 41, has been accused of charging a hefty fee from two EWS students. The school secured a minority status in March this year.
Two persons whose wards are studying in the school have lodged complaints with the education department over the issue.
Daljit Singh, a resident of Sector 41 whose daughter was admitted to the school in 2012 under the RTE Act, said the school has now asked him to pay Rs 1,000 along with Rs 3,000 as a “one time charge”, for the current session. The school, he alleged, had claimed that since it was now a minority institution, it did not have to comply with the act. Of the Rs 1,000, Rs 250 was for air conditioning charges, Rs 300 was towards the tuition fee while the rest was for the remaining activities of the school, the complaint claimed.
He said that the school management even told them to “find a new school” if he failed to comply.
“I requested the school management to relax the fee on compassionate and moral ground, since I am Sikh and the school is a Sikh minority school. Despite this, however, the school refused,” Singh said.
In a similar complaint, another parent, Shankar Lal, said that the school had also asked him to find a new school for his son if he did not pay the fees.
Denying the charges, the school’s manager Paramjeet Grewal said that the even after getting the minority status, the school continued to give 100 percent exemption on their tuition fees to EWS students and will continue to do so.
He claimed that Rs 1000 per month that the school charged per month were activity charges, charged by those conducting programmes undertaken at the school.
“There is no compulsion to pay for these activities. Parents may not opt for them,” he said.
Sources in the education department said that they had two received complaints of such nature last year as well, following which it had sent them to the ministry of human resource development but are yet to get a response.
District education officer RK Sharma said while charging EWS students is a clear violation of the act, the fact that the school is now a minority one complicates the matter. “We are in process of evaluating the situation and will accordingly take a final decision, he said
The RTE Row
Meanwhile, with every fourth school (17 out of 69) in Chandigarh getting a minority certificate from the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutes, admission prospects of the underprivileged students are certain to get affected.
Social activists across the city blame the education department for having failed to oppose the easy grant of minority status to schools. While the department has filed a reply to Vivek High School, Sector 38, and St Kabir School, Sector 26, petitions seeking a minority status, other schools, including Kids R Kids have successfully secured the minority status, triggering off a heated debate.
While the Right to Education Act mandates private schools to reserve 25% seats EWS students, minority schools have been exempted from this provision.