SEVERAL CENTRES of a listed pre-school chain have become non-functional after its teachers refused to work, allegedly because they had not been paid. This has led to an FIR by parents against the school management in Charkop, with many other parents planning to lodge complaints in different parts of the city. Ankita Kudtarkar, whose son attends the Treehouse Playschool at Charkop, said parents were worried over having to move their children to other schools. “The future of our children is at stake. They have just started school, and this is worrying,” said Kudtarkar.
A teacher at a Treehouse playschool in Borilvli’s IC Colony alleged she had not been paid for three months. On Monday, the school was also served a closure notice by the landlord, for not paying licence fee for the premises.
Fransica Braganza, whose ward attends the IC Colony school, said the notice outside the premises had surprised many parents. The notice said that Treehouse Education and Accessories Ltd had failed to pay the licence fee since April 20, 2016. It further stated that the management would have to vacate the premises if it failed to pay the balance amount of around Rs 3 lakh by December end.
“There is no clarity on relocation. If these premises will be vacated, will the children be absorbed in a nearby centre or will this centre be reopened at a different location?,” asked Braganza. Some parents had paid an annual fee of Rs 39,000 at the beginning of the term and said they had been cheated.
The centre has a centre head, three teachers and two helpers, none of whom have been paid their salaries. “The helpers and the centre head have not received their salaries in two months,” claimed the teacher.
The centre head, Dipali Sachin, said they had held a dialogue with the management in August, following which their salaries were released, but the problem resurfaced in November.
At the Charkop centre, parents were taken by surprise when teachers refused to work, claiming they were protesting the non-payment of salaries for six months. Sachin said that around eight teachers, including herself, visited the head office on Tuesday to talk to the management, only to find the office empty. On Wednesday, parents from many centres in places such as Vasai and Dahisar gathered outside the registered office of Treehouse Education and Accessories Ltd, a private equity-backed company, in Andheri. They had similar complaints: the centres were non-functional without any intimation from the management.
The Andheri office, however, remained deserted on Wednesday, too, with no officials available for comment. All efforts to reach the management failed.
The listed firm has around 70 centres in the city and reports available on the BSE website hinted at major losses suffered it. In the quarter ending September, it had suffered a standalone loss of Rs 4.7 crore.