A premier private school in the New Town area has allegedly forced parents and guardians to sign on undertakings if they want to get their wards admitted to the institute triggering controversy among the academic community.
A forum of parents and guardians formed soon after the school authorities’ move to force the former to sign the undertakings on non-judicial stamp papers of Rs 10 each, has already lodged complaints with the state chief secretary Mr HK Dwivedi, education minister Bratya Basu and the department’s secretary Manish Jain on 18 April against the institute, a national giant in private education sector having its countrywide units.
“Can a school curtail the fundamental rights of the parents and its students? Do they have any rights and power under any law to take away from the parents the right to lawfully criticise or protest,” the forum raised questions in its complaints.
The school started levying a fee for installing air-conditioners in the classrooms, way back in 2018 though the AC machines were installed in 2020. In the meantime, many students who have already passed out and those who do not leave the school without enjoying AC facilities have also been forced to pay the AC charge. This attempt is highly illegal, the forum alleged.
Parents were also forced to cough up entire fees, including AC charges for about 22 months since April in 2020, when lockdown measures were imposed by the state government owing to Covid-19 pandemic, according to the forum.
As per the seven-point undertaking prepared by the school management, parents and guardians have been asked to sign on it before the admissions of wards to the institute.
Several points are: “We have also understood the schedule of fees and other charges and consider the same to be reasonable and commensurate to the facilities provided. We ensure that we have sufficient financial capabilities and have made adequate provisions and arrangements to ensure that our child completes his/her education in the school.
Accordingly, if granted admission, we undertake not to challenge or dispute the fee structure of the school or enhancements made thereto.”
“We also undertake not to use any form of social, electronic or print media to criticize any decision or action of the school which may have the potential to damage the reputation of the school. We also undertake not to use any form of political or administrative influence either for purposes of admission or any other related matter.”
The principal of the school did not make any comment on the issue and Mr Jain was not available despite repeated calls and WhatsApp message made to him by this correspondent.