Hundreds of parents from Gurgaon took out a peaceful march on Sunday morning at Jantar Mantar protesting against the “unreasonable” fee hike and “illegal” charges imposed by various prominent private schools across the country. Several parents’ associations in the city have served an ultimatum to the state government and given them seven days to roll back the fee hike, failing which they will further intensify the protests and even burn effigies of the chief minister, education minister and other officials.
The protesting parents handed memorandums to the OSD (officer on special duty) of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar at Haryana Bhawan and OSD of the president at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The protesters, including students from nine states, gathered outside Jantar Mantar in the morning and marched towards Rashtrapati Bawan. They carried banners and placards demanding a rollback of the hiked fee and action against the erring schools.
“We have been protesting for last many months and will not sit silent now. If our demands are not met, we will move court. We are taking legal advice and have given enough time to the government and agencies. We will not give up the fight till the fee hike is rolled back,” Ramesh Rana, president of The All India Parents Forum for Education (AIPFE), said.
More than 700 parents from Gurgaon took part in the protest along with their children, saying they did not get any positive response from the government.
The AIPFE members demanded that the government enact a new law to give statutory status to The Fees and Fund Regulatory committee (FFRC). The body was formed under Section 158 A- of the Haryana School Education Act and comes under the authority of the divisional commissioner of Gurgaon.
“We successfully raised our voice at Jantar Mantar against various school managements of NCR. Parents shared their views, experience, and problems related to education costs. We submitted memorandums to officials at Haryana Bhawan and Rashtrapati Bhawan,” Yashesh Yadav, a parent, said.
The parents have been running from pillar to post in a desperate bid to get the fees reduced. However, there has been no response from authorities despite more than dozen protest across the city.
“We will submit a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week and will burn effigies of Union HRD (human resource development) minister Prakash Javadekar, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and education minister Ram Bilas Sharma in Delhi,” Sandeep Vats, a parent.
Tripti Singh, the administrator of Facebook forum, Gurgaon School for Better Education, said, “There is no clarity on education guidelines and the officials responsible are not aware of the steps that they can take against these schools. They do not have the authority to pursue cases of arbitrary fee hikes. We have no idea who to turn to for help.”