Parents groups, who were supposed to meet education minister Vinod Tawde and apprise him about the indiscriminate fee hikes rampant among Mumbai schools, were left fuming after the minister ‘refused’ to meet them. A couple of associations had sought an audience with Tawde for which they had taken prior appointments.
“We were shocked after the minister refused to meet us despite taking official appointments,” said Arundhati Chavan, president, Parents Teachers Association United Forum.
She alleged that Tawde only asked them to submit a list of schools accused of charging exorbitant fee.
“He sent us a message that he will call individual schools and their PTAs from next week to hear their concerns,” said Chavan. “But parents are not confident enough to stand up to the schools and the government alone. This will pressurise them into compromising.”
Another group, Parent of Private School of Maharashtra (POPSOM), fighting against commercialisation and financial exploitation of schools, wanted to meet Tawde and request amendments to the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011.
“We were agitated when Tawde refused to meet us even though we had taken an appointment,” said Anubha Sahai, member of POPSOM, adding that later she met him individually and submitted a list of errant schools.
She added that the school fee regulation act needs to be amended immediately, as it is has loopholes. “Parts of the act are unclear and flawed. Some of the penalties and actions suggested are incorrect,” said Sahai.
Across Mumbai, parents are at loggerheads with schools over fee hike. Another group has planned a day-long protest on May 21 to highlight about government inaction against schools.