Around 10 days after two local residents submitted a complaint against Chitkara International School, accusing it of commercialisation of education, including charging ‘unreasonable’ reservation fee and ‘compulsory payment’ of `950 for annual function, the school, in its written reply to the DEO office on December 18, stated that the charges are optional.
As HT had highlighted in its report on December 12, Sunita Sharma, a resident of Sector 47, had filed a complaint with the director public instructions (DPI schools) and UT education secretary, accusing Chitkara International School, Sector 25, of charging ‘unreasonable’ reservation fee.
Similarly, Surinder Kumar, a resident of Palsora village, had filed a complaint on December 16 to the DPI and UT education secretary, accusing the school of charging extra fee, compulsory payment of `950 for annual function and sale of uniforms, books, bags and stationary from the school itself at exorbitant rates. Surinder had also alleged that the students and parents were being ‘subjected to unreasonable financial burden’.
According to the reply submitted by Chitkara International School principal Niyati Chitkara, the charges are ‘optional’. “The `950, which was being charged this time, was entirely optional and a circular carrying explanation and expenditure of the same amount was also shared with parents,” the institute had stated in its reply. It further added that the economically weaker section (EWS) students were made to participate in the annual function without any charge.
Sunita had stated in her complaint that, “The school has devised an unreasonable policy for charging reservation charge/fee from parents so as to reserve the seat of students, who are already studying at the institute, for the next academic year.”
Following this, the DEO office had asked for the school’s comments regarding the same, to which Chitkara International filed a detailed reply on December 18.
The school also provided 25-page-long documental evidence, along with the written reply to the department, in which it claimed to have given detailed description of the school uniform and how the purchase of the same from the school was ‘optional’. The reply also states that ‘the school provides uniform in the school only for convenience of parents.
Similarly, referring to the school material kit issue as well, the school authorities claimed that it was being done through a consent form from the school and that if the parents wished to buy the kit from the stores outside, they were free to do so.
Sources in the department said the department was not satisfied with the school’s response. Commenting on the same, DEO Vinay Sood said, “We have asked the school to further clarify its stand on the additional fee `10,000 being charged from students who are already studying in the school.”