Committees set up to address problems have received mainly oral complaints
Despite allegations from parents that private schools are not adhering to the government’s directions to reduce tuition fees by 30%, the Department of Public Instruction has received only a handful of written complaints.
The department had set up committees at the taluk level to resolve disputes over payment of fees. However, almost all the complaints they have received to date are oral. Parents are reportedly reluctant to put it in writing fearing that their children will be targeted in class.
While the government had issued an order stating that parents can pay only 70% of the tuition fees for this academic year and no other fee, many school managements are not willing to comply with it.
‘ Not ground reality’
While some committees have received one or two written complaints, officials say it does not reflect ground reality.
“Despite school managements violating the order, parents are not willing to approach the committee as they fear that the school management may pressurise them. Parents fear that teachers will pick on their children,” said an official.
An official who heads one of these committees in Bengaluru North said, “I got a written complaint from a parent who said that the school was demanding they pay the full amount for this academic year. But after two days, the parent said that he would pay the entire fees and wanted to withdraw his complaint.”
A parent whose school has charged full fees this year said, “We asked the school to refund the fees, they did not oblige. But we didn’t complain because we do not our child to be cornered in her class,” she added.
A Block Education Officer in Bengaluru said that it would help if parents lodge complaints along with the fee receipts issued last year and this year. “If the fees collected this academic year is more than 70% of the tuition fee collected last academic year, then we will issue orders to the school to refund the fees not just to the parent who has complained but to everyone,” he said.
‘Solve issue locally’
V. Anbukumar, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said that officials at the taluk level were instructed to resolve the issue locally. If parents have paid more than 70 % of the tuition fee for this academic year, the government order states that they should be refunded or the amount adjusted with the fees for the next academic year.
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