Parent associations from various districts have come forward to file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court over the issue of alleged inflated fee structure at private schools, terming these institutions as ‘mafia’.
Parents from Jalandhar (city), Nakodar, Patiala, Gurdaspur and Bathinda, along with the members of the city-based NGO, Human Rights Press Club, on Sunday held a protest in front of the district administrative complex.
The associations have pledged support to the Human Rights Press Club, which has been protesting against the private schools since March 30 over the issue. The associations said it was a case of clear case of contempt of court as the schools were not following the orders passed by the Punjab and Haryana high court on fee regulation and hence they have now decided to file a writ petition.
Members of the parent associations also constituted a state-level body ‘Punjab Parents Association’.
The NGO said they will continue their protest till April 6. The agitation against the private schools has escalated across the state, with some parents from Bathinda sitting on an indefinite hunger strike.
In a meeting, the representatives of these parent associations also decided that a state-level joint action committee will be formed to organise protests across Punjab. Human Rights Press Club president Kamaldeep Singh said since the administration is not paying any heed to the parents’ problem, they were left with no option but to move the high court. The association said the schools were not following the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) norms.
As per the high court orders, the schools will have to justify their fee structure by producing necessary documents before the action committee of unaided private schools. The committee is authorised to look into as to how much fee hike was required by individual schools.
They claimed that the schools were not taking permission from the committee when it comes to fee structure or any hike in it.
They said since the private schools called themselves not-for profit organisations they were o exempted from income tax and value-added tax (VAT).
“The schools are charging huge fee to make profits and everyone has turned a blind eye to it,” Kamaldeep Singh said.
Sandeep Bandhu, a member of the Parents Association, Patiala, said, “I came to Jalandhar to join the protest because it is a state-wide problem. Our children are suffering. We need to fight unitedly and then we can expect some solution to this.”
Sunandan Sharma, a parent who had come from Gurdaspur, said, “The school mafia is violating our children’s right to education. All they know is how to make the middle-class suffer.”