Fee hike row: District admn wakes up, asks private schools to stop loot | punjab$amritsar | Hindustan Times
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Fee hike row: District admn wakes up, asks private schools to stop loot

Finally waking up from deep slumber on the issue of parents’ agitation against private schools, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam on Thursday categorically told school principals of private schools to stop looting parents in the name of fee

punjab Updated: Apr 24, 2016 19:43 IST
Usmeet Kaur
District education officer Satinder Bir Singh (centre) addressing parents protesting against the re-admission fee and the high fee structures in private schools outside Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School in Amritsar on Thursday.
District education officer Satinder Bir Singh (centre) addressing parents protesting against the re-admission fee and the high fee structures in private schools outside Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School in Amritsar on Thursday.(SAMEER SEHGAL /HT)

Finally waking up from deep slumber on the issue of parents’ agitation against private schools, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam on Thursday categorically told school principals of private schools to stop looting parents in the name of fee and other charges.

The parents have been protesting against the re-admission fee and the high fee structure in private schools and the monopoly of few shops over selling of books and school dresses ‘in connivance’ with them.

The role of the district administration was under scanner as they had remained a mute spectator on this issue so far. However, the growing pressure from parents left them with no choice other than taking a tough stance against these schools.

In a meeting called on Thursday, the DC was seen tightening the noose around the school heads of various city schools and warned them of shutting down the ‘money making shops’ being run by them.

Roojam clearly announced that no school had a right to make and then implement their self-made rules, which had been a cause of inconvenience for the parents to such an extent that they had to come on the roads to protest against it.

“The administration had to intervene and take charge as now things are going out of control. I have been approached by many parents and associations who have given me written complaints by naming a list of schools. Parents’ concerns are genuine. They are agitated and have come on roads. They are seeking for help and it is my duty to do help them,” says Roojam.

The DC also stated that he was shown few books by the parents where the school shops had tampered with the MRPs. “These practices and other sundry charges are troubling the parents and it needs to be checked and stopped,” he said. However, the administration failed to take any concrete decision on this issue even today.

STOP FORCING PARENTS TO BUY BOOKS, DRESSES

As the parents are disturbed because schools force them to buy uniforms, books, bags, shoes from shops designated by the school authorities, the deputy commissioner warned them to stop this malpractice immediately.

Meanwhile, when the principals countered that these shops were run to make things it easy for parents, DEO (SE) Satinder Bir Singh hit back saying, “Why are we trying to give them conveniences unasked by them. If a parent wants to buy anything from outside because of the discount being offered to them, a school should let them do so. Education should not be made an expensive and unreasonable affair.”

“There is an urgent need to have transparency in development funds being used and parents have to be informed before any hike or fund being asked. Why are the principals failing to communicate with the parents? No communication gap should be there. They need to be told and convinced on decisions being taken,” he said. Earlier, the DEO (SE) also requested the parents to end protest outside a city school today and assured them action against the schools

PRINCIPALS’ TAKE

Sangeeta Singh, principal of Delhi Public School, said, “There is a thin line between high fee and unreasonable fee. A distinction between the two is a must. Yes if a school is hiking the fee by more than 10 % every year, it needs to be taken to charge; but if it is below 10 %, it is reasonable. The points to be considered are the re-admission fee, students being charged for result announcement, prospectus charges, big amount of donations, etc.”

Dharamveer Singh, principal Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary Public School, said, “How will the school be able to give good facilities, pay teachers well and carry out infrastructure development if we do not make a minimal annual hike in the fees?”