A large number of parents from Gurgaon and Faridabad took out a protest rally in the city on Sunday demanding a rollback of the fee hike by various private schools in the city. They have been complaining that the hikes are unjustifiably high.
Parents from 40 private schools in the city, including DPSG, Ryan International, Salwan Public School, Blue Bells Model School, GD Goenka, Shiv Nadar, and from Faridabad schools, took part in the Aakrosh car rally that began from mini secretariat to Civil Lines. They handed over a memorandum of their demands to divisional commissioner D Suresh at his residence.
They also alleged harassment by the police during the protest and demanded that divisional commissioner should take action against the cop. There was a face-off between the police and the parents when the latter were asked to show permission to stage a protest in the city. Sushil Sarwan, sub divisional magistrate (SDM), had to intervene to ensure that the parents staged a peaceful protest.
“The police officials did not want us to protest on Sunday due to birthday celebration of PWD minister Rao Narbir Singh. Over 500 people had come to wish him,” said Anil Kumar, member, All India Parents Forum for Education.
“Police misbehaved with us. They held one of the parents by the collar and thrashed some of us when we refused to stop the protest. One of the parent’s mobile phone was also broken in the tussle,” said Bhupinder Singh, general secretary of the forum.
Parents from several city schools have also decided to take out a protest rally at Jantar Mantar on April 9 along with All India Parents Forum for Education.
“In earlier memorandums by parents’ associations in the city, parents have vehemently criticised the schools and exposed how they fleece the parents. But it all fell on deaf ears and authorities did not take any action,” said Ajay Vats, a parent.
Apart from a rollback of the fee hike, parents said they have also demanded compliance with CBSE-affiliation norms by schools, more transparency in the audit process, and better focus on parent-teacher associations and safety of students on campus.
“We have been demanding the same thing for the last three years. We are tired of the apathy of the schools and Haryana government officials. None of these schools follow the rules of the government or the CBSE and yet no action is taken against them. The government officials have also turned a blind eye to all the issues, mostly pertaining to fee hike,” said Ramesh Rana, national president of the forum.
“There is no transparency in the working of the schools. If schools are not making any profits, why can’t they show us their account books,” said Rajkumar Yadav, a parent.
Divisional commissioner D Suresh assured parents that the state’s additional chief secretary PK Das will soon come up with new guidelines and their demands will be taken care of. Das has called a meeting on April 5 in Panchkula with divisional commissioners of Hisar, Ambala, Rohtak and Gurgaon regarding fees and fund of private schools.
“Parents’ demands will be discussed in the meeting in Panchkula on April 5 and policy guidelines will also be discussed,” he said.
Suresh also said that he has marked an inquiry to the SDM on the parents’ complaint that the police harassed them during the protest.
However, assistant commissioner of police (ACP), Manish Sehgal, police spokesperson, said, “The allegations are baseless. The police did not harass the parents. They just asked them if they had asked for permission for the protest.”