Beyond the fees: picnics, annual day functions cost too | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Beyond the fees: picnics, annual day functions cost too

Schools are worried who will pay for the extracurricular activities of the reserved students. Apart from tuition fees, schools charge for additional activities such as field trips, exchange programmes and extracurricular activities that children from economically weaker backgrounds would not be able to afford.

mumbai Updated: May 18, 2012 00:50 IST
Deepti Khera

Schools are worried who will pay for the extracurricular activities of the reserved students. Apart from tuition fees, schools charge for additional activities such as field trips, exchange programmes and extracurricular activities that children from economically weaker backgrounds would not be able to afford.

Parents say that not being able to participate in these extracurricular activities could make the reserved students feel left out. Even among children from upper middle class homes, there are constant comparisons.

“Sometimes even my children complain about facilities that their friends have,” said Suguna Ramkrishnan, whose child studies in Dhirubai Ambani International School in Bandra.

“At times even we cannot match up to their demands so I wonder how parents from poorer sections will cope at an international school. Apart from the basic fees of Rs. 1 lakh, we spend an additional Rs. 50,000 on our child’s extracurricular activities.”

At Aditya Birla World Academy in Tardeo for instance, a week’s optional summer camp cost Rs. 25,000.

“Although these are not compulsory, every child would want to go for them,” said a parent whose daughter studies at the school.

“The classroom is air-conditioned, canned and processed food is served to children, there is no way a poor parent would be able to afford all of this.”

Activists, too, are concerned about potential divides in the classroom.

“A child from an economically weaker background will not be able to take part in an extracurricular activity and might develop an inferiority complex,” said Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education.

Activists also said that it could affect students psychologically.

“Two children sitting on the same bench might come from different backgrounds. One student will be able to afford a pencil box for Rs. 12, another will have a pencil box costing Rs. 100. The classroom dynamics might change and it will lead to segregation in the classroom,” said Arundhati Chavan, president, Parent-Teacher Association United Forum.