The demand for inclusion of parents in the committee constituted by chief minister Yogi Adityanath for rationalisation of fee hike by schools has been gaining momentum. After parents from Ghaziabad expressed their reservation on the constitution of the committee, the All Noida School Parents Association (ANSPA) has questioned the appointment of some of the members in the state level committee.
“There is no representation of parents in the committee and a few people with vested interests have also been appointed in the nine-member team. How can parents then get assurance that their interests won’t be sidelined? We demand equal representation in the committee as the issue affects us,” said K Arunachalam, general secretary, ANSPA.
On May 9, the secondary education department of UP formed a nine-member committee under the proposed UP Schools (Regularisation of Fee Collection) Ordinance, 2007. The committee will be headed by Jitendra Kumar, principal secretary of secondary education, and will probe the allegations of unjustified fee hike against private schools and also suggest ways to curb commercialisation of education in the state.
The committee comes in the wake of two months of continued protest by parents against alleged arbitrary hike by private schools. Parents have accused schools of hiking fees by 30-40% within three to four years without taking them into confidence and have also alleged that the schools have been putting pressure on students so that the protesting parents succumb.
In Noida and Ghaziabad as well, hundreds of parents have been protesting against several private schools, demanding for the introduction of a fee regulatory body to control the fee hike. The parents have approached the CM, the respective district and city magistrates, district inspector of schools, Noida MLA Pankaj Singh and BJP president Amit Shah, demanding intervention in the matter.
“We demand that besides a representative of parents, a retired high court judge must also be in the probe panel to ensure fairness,” said Arunchalam.
The parents’ body has also demanded that the government not limit its probe to a single committee.
“A single committee cannot probe the workings of schools in an entire state. Many schools charge Rs8,000- Rs10,000 per month in Noida whereas their ancillary branches in Ghaziabad charge Rs3,000-Rs4,000. There should be separate probe committee at district level,” said Yatendra Singh, president, All Noida School Parents Association.