April 8, 2016 3:55:22 am
Claiming that continued protests by a certain group of parents has made it impossible to run day-to-day affairs, Pimpri’s D Y Patil Public School has announced a shutdown and asked students to take admissions in other schools nearby.
The school said the existing students can continue studying for next few years but no new admissions would be taken at both entry points, which is Std 1 and Std VIII. This means even its students who clear Std VII will have to look for a new school.
The decision by the school has made parents anxious. A group of parents landed up at the school on Thursday demanding answers.
It was during mid-February that parents were informed for the first time by the school management about the impending shutdown. School principal Mrudula Mahajan attributed two main reasons for the decision. “For many years, a group of parents has been harassing the school management. Our school fees are quite reasonable compared to nearby schools, yet they have been protesting even a marginal increase in fees. It has led to severe financial crunch. However, the main reason for shutdown is the mental pressure which is building on the school staff. Our primary school principal of 23 years has quit, teachers are resigning against their wishes and their only reason is pressure from these parents,” said Mahajan.
As far as not giving extension to Class VII students, she said Std VIII to Std X is a different section of school which has separate recognition from education department. “Every year, we used to give school leaving certificates to Class VII students and admit them afresh in secondary section. But this year, no fresh admissions will be done,” she said.
For the last few years, the school management has been engaged in a battle with a few parents who have been protesting against the fee hike effected by the school, which they claim is illegal.
Sandeep Chavan, one of the protesting parents, says, “In 2013-14, the school fee was hiked from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. The next year, it became Rs 13,500. It is a hike of over 50 per cent in two years, which is illegal. Now, the school is using pressure tactics by announcing shutdown to suppress our voice,” he said.
Vikram Deshmukh, legal consultant for the school, defended the fee hike, saying the Fee Regulatory Act doesn’t mention any upper cap on fee hike but mandates consent from Parents-Teacher Association.
On Thursday, at least 50 parents landed up at the school demanding answers. “Last week, the school announced a shutdown but they are not ready to give us in writing. On what basis shall we approach other schools for admission? They are taking away our children’s right to education,” said Pallavi Patil, a parent.
Another parent, Nazeer Saudagar, said one of his sons in second standard would be allowed to continue till fifth grade, but his younger son in senior KG in nearby branch of the school, who was promised Std I admission earlier, has now been asked to look elsewhere. “All other schools in vicinity are costly and annual fees are above Rs 40,000. I can afford the Rs 13,500 annual fee here. But they said they wont give next year’s admission,” he said.
Meanwhile, Neelam Daaga, parent of a 7th Std student who is a member of the PTA, blamed other parents for the situation. “Many of us are ready to pay fees and still have to suffer because of other parents. If school shuts down, we will have to run to other schools and end up paying heavily for new admissions,” she said.
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