High drama ensued at the office of the Deputy Director of Education, Pune, when a few members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena locked up the DyDE office as a mark of protest. This happened even while a few staffers of the DyDE office were present and working inside the office, forcing the administration to call in local police, who disbursed the protesters.
The incident took place around 1 pm Friday when a few activists led by Kalpesh Yadav had gone to protest against the unregulated school fee hikes and the inability of the government to do something to stop the menace. “About three weeks ago, the state education department set up a committee under the chairmanship of V J Palshikar, to suggest solutions to the ongoing issue of unregulated fee hikes by schools and shortcomings in the Fee Regulation Act.
“The education minister had assured that within 15 days, the committee will submit its report and action will be taken. But the deadline got over on May 19 and as usual, there is silence over it. Not only this, the education minister held a hearing in Mumbai of parents over school fee issues and gave some decision and divisional fee regulation committee (DFRC) hearings were conducted on the next day. So who is the decision-maker here and why these multiple hearings? It is just to confuse parents and aid school managements?” alleged Yadav.
However, when asked why he locked up the DyDE office, he said it is because the DyDE, which earlier had absolute powers in matters of fee hikes and would come to aid of parents, is now rendered “useless” in the new FRA. “Earlier the schools had to submit fee hike proposals and information to DyDE for approval. Now management can do so with consulting e-PTA and no need of DyDE approvals. In fact, the DyDE doesn’t even have any right to intervene and hence it is useless. So it is better to lock it up,” he said.