Parents demand a cap in fee hike

Parents in Bengaluru hit the streets protesting Whitefield schools exorbitant fee hike
news Sunday, April 17, 2016 - 11:33

Over 100 parents of children studying in Whitefield Global School in Bengaluru are protesting outside the school against the yearly increase in fees on Sunday. 

The parents say they are left with few options as most private schools have this multi-fold hike in fees every year and yet don't provide quality education that they promise.

WGS is run by Chalasani Education Trust, which runs a kindergarten and classes from 1 to 12th and has over 1000 students. Like many private schools, the classes are divided in to four groups- kindergarten, primary (1-5), secondary (6-8), higher secondary (9-10) and, 11th and 12th- and the fee for each group is different.

“My son, who is in Class 5, has been studying in the school from class 1. In four years, the fee has doubled and I am paying close to Rs 80,000, and this is besides the transport costs. We just want some regulatory body to put a cap on how much private schools can charge,” said Lalit (name changed on request), one of the parents.

Picture from protest on April 16

Over 500 parents have raised many other issues, however all of them feel strongly about the hike. However, on sending a mail on issue of enormous increase in tuition fee of 80% and transport fee 80+% over last 4-5 years on April 9, a secretary replied by saying that is the standard increase of minimum 10% every year and that they would continue to do so.

“When asked why, the director told us that they are charging extra for the infrastructure and that they are working on the teacher-student ratio. That should be done with the profits from the fee we have already paid” he said.

“Not just this, the secretary said that the mail they received was from an “unofficial group of parents”. While I don’t know what he or she means by unofficial, it has offended many parents and we demand an apology from them,” said the parents.

Pointing at the exorbitant prices for other things that the school provides, Lalit said, “I have to pay Rs 3000 just for drawing books and paint kits every year for my daughter who is in upper kindergarten. The school charges about Rs 1500 for a calendar and a diary every year, and they don’t look any special.”

“We are spending more time into teaching them at home despite the high fee that we have been paying,” he said.

 

While this is the first time there has been a collective protest by parents, the issue had been raised by a Bengaluru techie three months ago.

In January 2016, a Bengaluru-based techie, Vinodh Rajaraman, wrote to prime minister's office and various departments about the multi-fold fee hike. While the state government did not respond, the PMO and MHRD acknowledged the letters and forwarded them to the CBSE, which notified the schools.

 

As per the Fee Regulation Act, 2011, schools can increasefees only once in two years.

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.