At least 50 parents staged a protest outside Panchkula St Xavier school, raising their voice against a 30 per cent hike in fee amid the lockdown. The parents further alleged that the school has not been taking any online classes and that their children have been facing difficulty studying their subjects.
This is the second such complaint in Panchkula in the past three weeks, since the state education department issued directions ordering private schools to only charge ‘tuition fees’ from students. The first had come from CL DAV school.
District Education Officer (DEO), Urmila Rohilla, has taken no action yet.
In a conversation with the Indian Express on April 30, Rohilla had revealed that the department that received many such complaints against different city schools. She had said that a comprehensive list of “all such schools has been made” and that the department will send them show cause notices along with checking their fee structures for last year and comparing them to the current year.
In response to a query about whether she had taken any action against such schools, she said, “No action has been taken yet and we are working on it. We are discussing the issue with the school association presidents.”
Meanwhile, parents protested outside the school for over an hour while ensuring social distancing norms, but received no response from the school authorities. “They sent unidentified man to ask us to leave. No response has been given by the school authorities. What are we to do?” said a parent of a class 5 student.
According to several parents and the fee receipts seen by the Indian Express, the previous total fee paid including a per month tuition fee and computer fee is lower than the hiked amount listed under tuition fee that the school is now demanding.
“Last year I paid a total fee of Rs 4,230 for a month which included a basic tuition fee of Rs 3,850 and computer charges. This year, they have asked for a monthly tuition fee of Rs 4,650 or quarterly fee of Rs 13,950,” said Suman Sharma, mother of a student who is graduating to class 9, adding that her household income has also gone down considerably owing to the lockdown.
This consolidated fee presented by the school for the current month or quarter has thus come out at an increased price than was being charged last year.
“What are we to do? We do not mind giving them the fee, but at least charge us what is fair. They have stopped online classes and are only give weekly worksheets,” she said, insisting that her daughter, has been unable to understand almost nothing of her new subjects since no classes have been conducted.
The Haryana government, in the last week of April, had directed that private schools can only charge tuition fees on a per month basis from students. Directions were also given to not increase the monthly tuition fee. Further, it had said that if any school was found violating these directions action will be taken against them under Rule 158 of Haryana Education Rules 2003.
The principle of St Xavier school, George Shear did not respond to any calls.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines