The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fee-hike fear takes parents to govt door

Calcutta, Dec. 1: Fearing another fee hike in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling on minority schools, guardians of students of several Anglo-Indian schools in the city and elsewhere in the districts have approached the state government.

They called on school education minister Kanti Biswas last week, urging him to stop any further fee increase.

The apex court recently upheld the state governments’ right to interfere through “regulatory measures” in the administration of minority educational institutions that receive financial aid from the state.

Following the order, a section of Anglo-Indian schools has begun toying with the idea of surrendering the dearness allowance grants sponsored by the state government to meet the salaries of employees and teachers since pre-Independence days.

The guardians argue that in such a scenario, the schools will increase tuition and other fees to cover the deficit.

“Many guardians of Anglo-Indian schools have recently met me and wanted to know whether my government will be able to take any step to stop the schools from raising the tuition fees any further. They also wanted to know whether my government has any plan to establish control on the Anglo-Indian schools in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. But we are not in a position to give our opinion on the matter since our legal officers have not completed examining the Supreme Court verdict,” said the school education minister.

Sources in the education department today said members of the guardians’ fora of several prominent Anglo-Indian schools have held a series of meetings with state officials.

The guardians have requested the government to take up the issue in the winter session of the Assembly, scheduled from December 9.

Speaker H.A. Halim has assured them that their demand will be looked into, said Mantu Pal, father of a student of Loreto School, Bowbazar, and general secretary of a joint guardians’ forum of 67 Anglo-Indian schools. Halim will meet the guardians’ representatives this week to discuss the matter, Pal added.

Sources among the heads of the Anglo-Indian schools said senior government officials have recently sought their opinion on the matter.

“We are happy that the government has given full support to our demand and assured us that it will take appropriate steps to ensure that the schools are not able to hike the tuition fees,” said Pal.

“There is every possibility that some schools will surrender the dearness allowance from the government to relieve themselves from the bindings of the state government,” he added.

The 67 Anglo-Indian schools recently increased tuition fees by Rs 250 to 300 per month after the state government decided to curtail the dearness allowance grants from 132 per cent to 41 per cent.

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