Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

Borivali school pulled up for ‘donation’ demand

Express News Service | Mumbai | Posted: February 16, 2014 3:24 am

Upset with St Francis ICSE School, Borivali, for allegedly demanding donation for admission, parents along with NGO Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE) have approached the state school education department. The school has been allegedly demanding donation from parents seeking admissions, citing school development fees.

Even as schools are restricted from taking donations and capitation fees from parents, managements continue to demand hefty sums at the time of application at pre-primary levels. While parents have alleged that they were asked to pay Rs 60,000, the school has denied the allegation.

A parent (name withheld on request), seeking admission from his child to the school said, “We were asked to submit the application form to the administration with a demand draft of Rs 60,000. The form demanded a declaration where parents were required to state that they were making the contribution ‘freely and unconditionally for the development of the school’. I cannot afford to pay Rs 60,000, but I agreed to pay the entire fees mentioned by them. However, I was told that unless I paid Rs 60,000, my son would not be considered for admission.”

Another parent said, “We were told that the contribution towards the development of school was mandatory and our children would not be admitted to the school, unless the amount was paid.”

However, Father Jose G, Principal of St Francis School, said, “We have only 150 seats in the three divisions at the kindergarten section, for which we receive over 1,000 applications. We are very transparent with regard to our admission procedure, and no donation is demanded from anybody. Someone who could not secure admission to our school is spreading the rumour.”

According to educational activists and NGOs, schools seem to have found ways to evade the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act, 1987 and Right to Education Act, 2009.

“They now charge exorbitant fees under non-prescribed heads, which they claim is capitation fees. Schools have been asking parents to pay a certain amount towards ‘voluntary contribution’ for PTA, staff welfare, development of school building, and education fee for the school’s maintenance. Both Right to Education Act and Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act state that charging capitation fee under any head not prescribed by the education department is unlawful and schools, if caught, will have to pay 10 times the amount charged. If the management has not demanded donation or additional money from parents, why did they distribute the declaration form? We have requested the education department to investigate the matter,” said Jayant Jain of FFE
N B Chavan, Deputy Director of School Education, said, “We will send our education inspectors to the school on Monday to verify the allegations levelled by parents against the school.”

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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