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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

Check fee hike: Parents to tell the authorities through rally in Mumbai

The protest is in the wake of recent instances of schools expelling students over fee-related disputes. In March, a Pune school expelled over 400 students for protesting against ‘illegal’ fee hike, according to a statement released by the parents of these students. Similar cases have been reported in Mumbai in the past.

education Updated: Apr 20, 2019 13:59 IST
Ankita Bhatkhande
Ankita Bhatkhande
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
(HT)
         

Parents from private schools across the state will protest today outside the education commissioner’s office in Pune against the government’s inaction over fee-related complaints and the poor implementation of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act.

The protest is in the wake of recent instances of schools expelling students over fee-related disputes. In March, a Pune school expelled over 400 students for protesting against ‘illegal’ fee hike, according to a statement released by the parents of these students. Similar cases have been reported in Mumbai in the past.

Parents said the fee regulation act is giving a leeway to private schools to impose hikes and take ad hoc decisions. “The government has not done anything to put a cap on increasing fees in private schools across state. Schools are not adhering to any governmental norms for fees and are hiking fees indiscriminately. If parents refuse to pay, their children are expelled or their results withheld, against which the government takes no action,” said Anubha Sahai, president, India Wide Parents Association, one of the participants in the protest.

Sahai said the parents also demand an audit of all private schools, the details of which need to be made available to the parents. “Schools need to be transparent about their expenditure and income as parents have a right to know this before paying hiked fees,” she added.

Anamika Shinde, a city-based parent who has a pending complaint against a school, said, “Three years after we complained about the school to the education department, no action has been initiated. I had to pull out my daughter from there as the school was using all tactics to pressurise us into withdrawing the complaint and often discriminated against our children.”

Parents plan to assemble outside the office of the education commissioner in Pune and will submit a memorandum of demands at the office. Associations from various parts of Maharashtra such as Nasik, Akola, Amravati, Pune and Nagpur are expected to participate in the protest.

For the box:

The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011 came to effect from 2015. As per the act, school managements can propose feehikes 6 months prior to the beginning of the new academic year. The proposed hike needs to get an approval of the Parent Teacher Association(PTA) Executive body. The hike cannot be more than 15% every two years.

Cases:

Parents from a school in Dadar had written to the state education department alleging that the school has imposed a 100 percent fee hike in 2016.

Several parents from a school in Panvel are up in arms against the school over abrupt fee hikes since 2015. The state education department asked the school to keep charging parents as per the old fee structure in the interim as the parents moved court and the case is still pending.

A Dahisar school expelled over 80 students in 2017 after their parents refused to pay abruptly hiked fees. The state education department has still not taken any action against the school management.

Recently, parents from a Dahisar school protested against the school’s decision of hiking fees by over 30%. Despite a pending complaint at the education department, the school has announced a 10% hike for the upcoming academic year.

First Published: Apr 20, 2019 13:59 IST

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