Parents and education activists are pinning their hope on a legislation to regulate fee and other charges in schools.
Parents and activists have been saying that some schools in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad“mint money”.
While parents have been expressing concern over the exorbitant fee structure , they fear to come out in the open fearing reprisal.
“My daughter was admitted to pre-primary. The school demanded Rs 35,000 caution money and a fee of 95,000. We approached another school. The fee is 70,000 but can be paid in two installments. But security deposit is Rs 25,000. We have not received any receipt but hopefully we will. The school administration told us when my child completes class 10, she will get the money back. In case she leaves before completing class 10, the fees will be retained by the school,” said a parent who did not want to reveal either the school or the child’s name.
“The reason we did not complain is, getting admission is a hassle. No parent would want to spoil their child’s future,” she added.
Another parent said, “My daughter is in pre-primary. The school charged Rs 15,000 security deposit which they said will be refunded. They have a development fee, too. All this is too steep.”
Activist Sayyed Shaher Ali, fighting against commercialization of education, said several schools have devised cunning ways to charge ‘caution money’ and other fees.
“Schools charge an amount without giving a break-up. This amount also includes caution money or security deposit about which parents are kept in the dark. Parents often desist from raising their voice considering the future of their wards,” he said.
Activist Matin Mujawar of advocacy group Shikshan Hakka Manch hoped the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection Of Fee) Act, 2011 will end the practice and bring in transparency.
“As per the Act, schools will have to be clear about money to be charged towards tuition fee, term fee, library fee laboratory fee, gymkhana fee, caution money, examination fee, hostel fee, mess charges and admission fee while submitting fee proposal,” he said.
Mahavir Mane, director of primary education, said, “Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Bill, 2011 got the president’s nod. We have set up a committee. We have rules for fee regulation and how to implement it. From next academic year, it will be in action.”
As per the Act, even to increase fee, schools will have to take permission at least eight months before academic year begins. There are provisions for reimbursement of excess fee, said Mane.