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Fee-stung parents at Geetashree door

Agitated over the fee hike habit of private schools, a group of parents on Sunday met state HRD minister Geetashree Oraon who in turn directed the cradles to furnish audit reports of three years and justify increasing of tuition charges and bus fares.

“We will hold a meeting with representatives from various schools on Tuesday. They have been asked to come prepared with the audit reports. They will need to justify the hikes,” the minister said.

She added that the meeting would also review whether private institutions were following the Right to Education Act, 2009, according to which a percentage of seats should be reserved for students below the poverty line.

On whether private institutions followed Supreme Court guidelines, Oraon said: “I hope every school has a copy of the Supreme Court verdict that says that under no circumstances can tuition fee be hiked by more than 15 per cent. Today, I was told that some schools had effected hikes of 20 to 25 per cent.”

Among schools that have jacked up fees is JVM Shyamali. The tuition fee has risen from Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,650 for Classes XI and XII. Similarly, the annual fee school has been hiked from Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,300. The school has also sent notices to parents asking them to deposit Rs 1,000 as school development fee, which was Rs 500 earlier.

On the other hand, Bishop Westcott Girls’ School has hiked bus fares by 25 per cent, besides raising the tuition fee.

“I am finding it tough to pay for my three children’s education. Schools call parent meetings just for the sake of it. Our opinions are never taken before hiking fees. If we argue, we are told to shift our children to state-run schools,” said Jayanti, a Kanke resident.