This is a widespread practice in several private unaided schools: KSCPCR

A complaint has been filed before the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), on Friday, against Sindhi High School on Kumarakrupa road alleging that the management of the school has been demanding fees over and above the annual fees for conducting remedial classes for children who need additional help.

One of the parents, who filed the complaint, told The Hindu that the school was charging Rs. 2,400 per year to provide remedial classes to his child. “The management of the school has called us thrice urging us to pay the amount. The annual fee is over Rs. 30,000. If we are unable to pay, the child is not allowed into these classes.” The parent opined that it was the school’s basic responsibility to help children cope.

This, however, does not appear to be a one-off incident. Many school managements and parents The Hindu spoke to said that charging extra fee for remedial classes was quite common. A teacher in Legacy School pointed out that parents of “slow learners” are expected to pay Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per hour per child for the remedial class. Roopa Swamy, principal of Legacy School, said the number of remedial classes conducted at their school depended on the student’s learning problem. “Sometimes, a child may need one or two classes and other times more classes may be needed,” she added.

RTE violation

As per Section 24 (d) of the Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, it is the teacher’s responsibility to “assess the learning ability of each child and accordingly supplement additional instructions, if any, as required”.

Responding to this, Maitreyi Satyadev, principal of Sindhi High School, said the school was charging fees as “resource room fee” for students with learning disabilities. “Some students cannot spell a word or are dyslexic and cannot cope with the CBSE syllabus. So we charge Rs. 2,400 annually for the resource room fee. This is conducted for students up to Class 3.”

When pointed out that this practice was against the RTE Act, she said: “I will inform my management about this. Parents who have financial problems are free to contact us.”

H.R. Umesh Aradhya, chairperson of the KSCPCR, said this was a “widespread” practice in several private unaided schools. “We will send a notice to the school and wait for the school’s response, after which we will urge the concerned Deputy Director of Public Instruction and the Block Education Officer to take action.”

Stating that it was the responsibility of the teacher to help children with learning disabilities, Mr. Aradhya said: “These classes should be conducted free of cost and should be conducted with the intent of helping the child and not exploiting the child.”

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