In a fresh setback to Indira National School, the deputy director of education (Pune) has issued a warning to the school management asking them to refund the ‘illegal’ admission fees charged to parents within 15 days or else face serious consequences.
The issue of admission fees is being heard by the education office for many months and at least six months ago, the erstwhile deputy director of education had in a order dated May 16, 2016, asked the school to refund admission fees charged to parents arguing that it doesn’t conform to the existing laws regarding fees.
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On its part, the school had challenged the order stating they were not given a chance to be heard in the matter and that it had hiked the fees with the consent of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), making it was a completely legal move.
However, in the fresh orders issued by deputy director of education Dinkar Temkar on September 28, he observed that the school had claimed that it had obtained the consent of the PTA regarding revised fees.
However, a perusal of the documents submitted by the school show that there is no mention of admission fee in the proposal submitted to the PTA.
The letter further states that while the school management had claimed that they were not given a chance to respond to the allegations, documents show that the school had been sent prior intimation of the hearing by email and that the school principal was present on the day of the hearing and hence, there is no substance in the school’s claims.
The order states that the admission fees taken until academic year 2014-2015 was illegal as it was taken before the Fee Regulation Act 2011 came into force.
According to the norms of the SS code, the school is allowed to keep only one month’s tuition fee as admission fees and will have to return the remaining amount.
“It appears that the school had sent the communication on now being allowed to be heard to misguide the deputy director’s office. We have asked the school to follow the order passed on May 16 within 15 days and return the admission fees to parents or else adjust the amount in the current year’s fees,” said Temkar.
He further warned that the school should not attempt tactics like asking parents to take school-leaving certificates or hold back report cards of parents or even demand further fees from parents until admission fees is returned or else the school will have to face serious consequences.
Parents have welcomed the order. Meera Dilip, one of the parents who complained against the school, said, “Six months back itself, the erstwhile deputy director had passed orders in our favour but the school defied those too. All the documents are on record, we hope this order is followed,” she said.
When contacted, INS school principal Geeta Pillai acknowledged receiving the latest letter by email but refused to comment.
“I cannot speak until we have discussed the matter with our lawyers,” she said.
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