Dehradun: Public schools in the capital have raised their fees, and are pressurising parents to buy stationery and uniforms from selected stores. School officials seem to believe that no action will be taken against them as the model code of conduct (MCC) is in force.
More than 15 calls were received on the helpline number started on Wednesday to lodge complaints of parents about admission and school related issues. The helpline has been set up at the district magistrate’s office to register complaints on a computer. These calls indicated that schools have become autocratic.
Tripta Sharma, Right to Education coordinator Dehradun told Hindustan Times, “Public schools have adopted a totalitarian attitude. They are taking advantage of the MCC. Thus, fee hike, prescribing stationery, and uniform from selected stores, hiking bus fare and others are done. By opening helpline number, we have tried to put some check on them. But, there are various points on which even state education department cannot take action. Under such circumstances, the district magistrate will have to intervene.”
According to RTE official records, Delhi Public School (DPS) on Rajpur Road has increased fee by `10,000 annually from academic session 2014-2015. Besides, Doon International School (DIS) has also increased quarterly fee from `7,000 to `9,000. Similarly, schools like Touchwood and Constancia Public School have also hiked fee. Thus, fee hike is one of the major issues bothering parents.
Notably, in April 2013 the helpline number received 187 total complaints from parents. Out of this number, 182 were resolved with the support of DM Dehradun.
Last year as well, fee hike was a grave issue. In a meeting with DM, schools put forward every year 2% hike in fee is done to facilitate smooth working of schools and its staff. But, even then annual and virtual fee charges were charged from parents.
It was then, DM appointed four administrative officers to investigate and permanently resolve complains coming from various schools. But, similar issues have raised this year as well.
Significantly, public schools are still prescribing stores for buying stationery and uniform. In this regard, parents can lodge complaint against the school administration in police station. But, state education department has no jurisdiction over it.
Shiv Prasad Khali, chief education officer said, “It’s something not in our hands. Fee could be regulated with the help of DM. But, we cannot ask schools not to prescribe stores for buying uniform and books. We have received ample complaints in this regard. Unless DM appoints officers to check this irregularity, public schools will continue to harass parents.”