More than 1,000 complaints of fee hike by schools

Despite repeated warnings from the government, many private schools have not only hiked tuition fees for the 2020-21 academic year but are also putting pressure on parents to pay up. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) helpline has received 1,120 complaints from parents whose children study in private schools in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts.

The numbers could be higher as more often than not, people are wary of approaching the authorities for fear that it will affect their children in school, said officials.

According to data provided by the department, around 490 of the 1,120 cases have been resolved after the intervention of the Block Education Officer. “Notices have been served to all school managements against whom complaints have been received,” said a DPI official.

Officials have promised to address all grievances by the end of the week, but are yet to contact some of the schools that have not re-opened.

“The most common complaint was that their children were not being allowed to attend online classes if fees are not paid,” the official added.

Rajesh S., a parent of a class three student in a CBSE school, said, “We were happy with the action taken by the department. I was glad that the department allowed me to file a complaint anonymously. They did not mention my daughter's name to the school. After a notice was served, the school rolled back the 30% fee hike it had announced,” he said.

Another common complaint is that schools are collecting transportation fees and infrastructure development fees even though they have not re-opened.

The government had issued an order stating that no school can hike fees for the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact the lockdown may have had on a parent’s income. It had urged schools to make provisions for payment of fees in instalments.

Maximum complaints from Bengaluru South

In Bengaluru, the highest number of complaints were reported in the Bengaluru South education district. Of the 927 complaints received by the department's helpline, 379 have been addressed.

Another 185 complaints have been filed by parents in schools in Bengaluru North. Of these, 103 have been resolved. In Bengaluru Rural district, which has very few private schools, eight complaints have been recorded, all of which have been resolved.

Schools in the dock

Two schools are in the dock as the DPI has decided to recommend to the State government to withdraw the No Objection Certificate for failure to comply with the department’s directive on fees. Two other schools got a stay from a court after being issued similar notices.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:20:47 AM |

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