Education in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere has become a business of high stakes and none wants to the rock the boat

Hyderabad: It is that time of the year when parents shudder at the thought of sending their children to the next class. The fine art of balancing the household budget goes awry throwing parents into panic mode. Questions like how to adjust the additional amount and which acquisition plans have to be put on hold for some more time haunts every parent. In the end, however, everyone swallows the bitter pill.

While parents gnash their teeth and bristle with frustration over inaction of the State government in regulating the fee structure, the school managements quietly go about doing what they are good at. Hike the fee in all aspects of education under the guise of simple rules like building maintenance, faculty salary, increase in property tax and even switching from SSC to CBSE syllabus.

Parents believe that the government’s failure to develop a vibrant school education system in which the standards of education in government schools are on a par with private schools has created a situation wherein the school managements have always had the last say in fixing school fee. The parents simply do not have any better options, many pointed out.

“Why can’t politicians show some spine and introduce a bill in the Assembly that will once and for all regulate the school fee structure? Nobody has the spine because education in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere has become a business of high stakes and none wants to the rock the boat,” feels Secretary, Hyderabad Schools’ Parents Association (HSPA), Venkata Ramana Kumar.

Kumar’s son studies in Meridian School, which has hiked the school fee by 28 per cent this year. Similarly, well-known schools like DPS, Secunderabad, Chirec and Fun Kidz have hiked school fee anywhere between 20 to 30 per cent. “According to CBSE guidelines, all schools should have an association of parents and teachers to finalise school fee. Many schools have formed this association, but its members are compromised and they do not oppose proposals to increase school fee,” says another HSPA member, N. Ravi Kumar.

The HSPA members, who have been raising the issue of regulating school fee with the State government, point out that not a single private school in the capital has a catalogue that will give the parents an idea of how much they would be spending on their children at the end of ten years.

“Such best practices of fixed incremental fee structure and maintaining transparency are never followed. We feel that school education has become a lucrative business that has attracted highly influential persons. Despite our fight, the authorities and politicians have not displayed any resolve in taking the issued head-on,” is the sentiment of large number of parents in Hyderabad.

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