Parents from four different schools in the Mumbai region have complained about schools hiking fees in the past two months, a move some believe is meant to preempt conditions that will bind them once the proposed fee regulation Act comes into place.
Parents of students at Abhinav Vidyalaya in Dombivli, Billabong School in Juhu, Arya Gurukul School in Kalyan and Sri Balaji International School in Malad have claimed that the schools have hiked their fees in the range of 10% to 25% in past two months.
The government has finalised the draft of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act after accepting suggestions from members of the public but is yet to introduce it in the on-going assembly session.
“Despite education department’s letter, the school has not revoked the hike,” said a parent from Billabong School, Juhu. “Schools cannot do so as the Act is still being prepared,” said SR Chouhan, deputy director, education department.
Two of the schools — Balaji International and Abhinav Vidyalaya — have asked parents to pay post-dated cheques for the entire fee for the upcoming academic year, claimed parents.
“If we don’t give them the cheque, they have threatened to withhold the annual examination results,” said a parent of a student at Abhinav Vidyalaya. School authorities of Abhinav Vidyalaya and Billabong were not available for comment, but officials of Arya Gurukul and Balaji International said there was nothing irregular in the fee hikes and that the PTA had been informed.
“We spoke to our PTA in January and informed them about our expenses and explained the increase,” said Bharat Malik, trustee of Arya Gurukul.
Meanwhile, parents, activists and teachers from the non-profit group Forum For Fairness who had been fasting against the government failure to introduce the fee regulation Act in the assembly since last Wednesday called off their strike on Tuesday. “Education minister Rajendra Darda assured us that the Act would be introduced in the assembly on Wednesday,” said Jayant Jain, president of the forum.