Hundreds of parents gathered at Company Bagh on Sunday to protest against the “loot” by private schools and “apathy” of the state government and the district administration towards their plight.
Parents who have been agitating for the past one week against malpractices of private schools warned the district administration to take the issue seriously. They said if the district education officer (secondary education) Satinder Bir Singh fails to check exorbitant fee being charged by schools, they will return to streets to raise their voice.
The Punjab Parents’ Association, too, announced a dharna outside the deputy commissioner’s office after their meeting with the administrative officials.
Holding placards and hoardings highlighting names of schools, the parents, many of whom were accompanied by their kids, said high-headedness on part of private schools will not be tolerated.
Parents speak up against schools
A parent, on the condition of anonymity, said Excelsum High School (formerly Step-by-Step High School) was charging heavy fee every year under different heads, like infrastructure charges, IT charges, annual charges, technology charges, activity charges, and, surprisingly, parenting workshop charges. The total amount comes out to Rs 30,000, he said. Recently, the school also hiked the transportation charges by 90%, he said, questioning if this was justified.
Association president Hardev Singh said in the name of development, schools are charging exorbitant fee. “Why should we be paying for every development of the school. There are schools that charge for art and craft classes, dance classes and smart classes. We are being fleeced while the administration is sleeping. Deputy commissioner Varun Roojam should have announced a fixed fee hike for the district in the first meeting itself. Now that he has assured us that the matter will be resolved within the next week, he should keep the promise or be ready to face consequences,” he said.
Rahul Sharma, whose child is studying in Holy Heart Presidency, said: “Education has become an expensive affair. Today, my child is in the kindergarten and till the time she reaches Class 10, I won’t be able to bear the rising fee. It has to be checked.”
Parents also accused DAV Public School, Spring Dale Senior School, DAV International School, Bhawan SL Public School and Sri Ram Ashram Senior Secondary School of levying unreasonable fee.