Parents of students in the city have welcomed the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) advisory to all its affiliated schools notifying them that they would face de-affiliation unless they refrained from charging exorbitant fees from students. Though these parents have been fighting fee hikes for some time now, they are sceptical about the implementation of the CBSE order.
In the advisory sent to schools, the CBSE has clearly said that it has received several complaints from parents over the steep fee hikes and capitation fee charged by schools and pointed out that there is a growing tendency among some institutions to make profit by raising fees under various heads, which goes against the bye-laws of the board. “A large number of CBSE schools are not adhering to the provisions concerning tuition fee laid down in the affiliation bye-laws of the board, which are mandatory,” states the director, affiliation, CBSE, in the advisory.
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However, parents said that even if such an advisory has been issued, it wont make much sense unless the board is serious about following up on its words. Meera Dilip, a member of POPSOM (Parents of Private Schools of Maharashtra), whose child studies in a CBSE-affiliated school, said she has sent several complaints to the board about illegal fee hike and other activities at her child’s school. “The board then directed the regional office in Chennai and an initial inquiry was conducted after which we learnt that an inquiry into the school accounts was advised by regional authorities. But after that, no follow up has been done so far, despite the fact that we have sent reminders. So I am sceptical on what a mere advisory will achieve and until CBSE is serious about taking action, this is just a feel good move,” she said.
Meanwhile, the CBSE board advisory asks the institutions to send their accounts statement to the board every year and states that fees should normally be charged under the heads prescribed by the department of education of the state and no capitation fee or voluntary donations should be charged.
A parent of a child who studies in a CBSE board affiliated school, Vilas Rao, said that at their school, voluntary donations are mandatory for admissions and it finds no mention in school fees. “It’s not just that, the CBSE board says that fees charged should be commensurate with the facilities provided by the institution. But in our school, we have no sports ground which is basic facility. Also, the quality of the teachers is not very good and there is a hygiene issue in school, especially toilets as our children often complain about it,” he alleged.
However, parents of other schools are hopeful that the advisory will at least act as a deterrent to schools before they indulge in wrongdoing as there is a threat of de-affiliation. “I think they are taking one step at a time and it’s a welcome move. At least the board is taking cognizance of parents’ complaints,” said Varsha Shah, another parent.