TED NewsDesk, Mumbai: Since the lockdown last year in March 2020 and the shutdown of schools thereafter, there has been a constant struggle between the students/parents and the administration regarding the structure of the fees in various schools.
On Wednesday parents of several students studying in private schools of Maharashtra came together in Azad Maidan to protest regarding fee hikes and indiscriminate fee charges being charged during the pandemic.
The parents raised the issue via the platform of various parent associations across the state. The protests began on Wednesday morning; the parents had not left the protest venue till evening.
“We are not going to move from here until we get a response from the government over our complaints. We want some firm decision and action from the authorities,” said Anubha Sahai, president of the Indiawide Parents Association.
A parent from Navi Mumbai who attended the protest said that he had skipped work only to fight against the injustice meted out against students. “Private schools are not listening to anyone. Even as we have faced salary cuts, schools continue charging us the same as before. Our complaints made to the state education department have also not been looked into.”
Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in education which had organized the protest said the government was not concerned about the issues of parents. “Over the last several months, parents have been writing about issues concerning fee hikes and the indiscriminate fees charged by schools during the pandemic. Some students are also facing the brunt of this as schools are harassing them for non-payment or pending dues. This needs to be addressed immediately and we will not stop our protest until the government provides relief in the issue,” he added.
State education minister Varsha Gaikwad did not respond to the calls and messages in this regard and the officials from the state education department denied to comment on the issue.
The government had released guidelines regarding the issue of fee hikes on May 8, stating that schools should stay all fee hikes for the current academic year and are to allow parents to pay fees in installments. This resolution was however stayed by the Bombay High Court on June 26 in response to a petition by several organizations of private school owners. The petitioners had argued that the government cannot regulate fees of private schools as per the current rules.