As parents of school students in Himachal Pradesh receive messages for payment of hefty fees for the Covid lockdown period and afterwards, the Students Parents Forum on Sunday announced to stage protests if the government does not withdraw its order allowing private schools to charge fees over and above tuition fees.
The Students Parents Forum convener Vijender Mehra said the Director, Higher Education on 10 Nov had lifted the restriction imposed on private schools to only charge tuition fees from the students.
“The Director Higher Education in its order stated that they are withdrawing the earlier notification issued in June 2020 regarding charging of only tuition fees from students. The earlier notification which was not applicable now, had also barred schools from charging building, maintenance, sports funds, computer and extra co-curricular fees etc,” he added.
He further stated that the state government is standing with the management of over 3000 private schools in which over 6 lakh students are enrolled and now their parents are facing the brunt of the government’s decision in Covid pandemic.
Now school managements were asking the parents to deposit the pending fees for and after the lockdown period. They were now being forced to pay hefty fees as the private schools were charging building, maintenance, sports funds, computer, extra co-curricular and other annual fees, he said.
“The parents in hill state prefer English medium private schools for their children as the quality of education imparted to students in government schools is quite poor,” he said, adding for this, they have been burdened to pay hefty fees.
He further stated that parents enrolling their wards were not able to raise voice against the monopoly of such school managements owing to the risk of losing the academic future of their children.
Besides, commercialization of such learning institutions were the new norm as irrespective of party-line, every government in the state always take decisions favourable to private school managements , he alleged.
He said the Forum would stage protests at the State Directorate of Education on 16, 21, 24 and 28 December in the first phase and if the state government didn’t withdraw its order, a second phase of protests would be started.