In a practice that goes against the very spirit of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, several parents have been asked to pay large sums of money under various sub-heads, like fees for smart class and examinations, by some private schools.
Lakshmi (name changed), a domestic worker, who has admitted her son in class 1 of a school in Hulimavu, paid Rs. 7,000 at the beginning of the academic year for uniforms and books. “I thought I was done with paying the fees. Now the school has raised a fresh demand. If we do not pay, they will not allow my son to appear for the exams,” she said with tears in her eyes and added that she was forced to pay Rs. 1,000 on Monday.
Block Education Officer (South 3) M. Munireddy said that the management has been directed to refund the fees and also said that a notice would be issued to the school.
RTE Students and Parents Association general secretary B.N. Yogananda said that this is not an isolated case.
He said that this practice continues despite Department of Public Instruction’s categorical instruction that managements cannot charge a fee. “The department states that fees can be collected only for one extra-curricular activity. However, this activity cannot be made mandatory.”
Private school managements admit to flouting norms but claim the government’s reimbursement ceiling (Rs. 11,848 a year for a child admitted to class 1 and Rs. 5,924 a year for pre-school) is insufficient. A private school management representative pointed out that it is yet to receive reimbursements for the 2014–2015 academic year.
Source: The Hindu