Mumbai: Parents protest over 56 per cent fee hike in a Vikhroli school

Deputy director urges parents to file complaint with education panel against Abhay International School for flouting Fee Regulation Act

Vikroli school fee hike protest
In October, the executive committee of the Vikhroli-based school had cleared a proposal to raise the monthly fee of primary class students from Rs. 1,600 to Rs. 2,500 per month, for renovation purposes. PIC/DATTA KUMBHAR

Parents of students studying at the Vikhroli-based Abhay International School are protesting against the exorbitant 56 percent fee hike proposed by the school management for renovation purposes. The unapproved fees are against the provisions of the Fee Regulation Act.

In October, the executive committee of the school had cleared a proposal to raise the monthly fee of primary class students from Rs. 1,600 to Rs. 2,500 per month. The school had argued that the fees would be used to improve its infrastructure and quality of education. However, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) on Friday called for a meeting to raise their objection to the fee hike. Some parents feel that the school is now targeting their kids because they are opposing the fee hike. "Our children don’t feel like going to school anymore because the staff is unnecessarily harassing them. We are middle-class people, and this school is affiliated to the SSC board. Simply naming the school 'international' doesn’t merit the demand for higher fees," said a parent, on condition of anonymity.

The PTA has even approached the NGO Forum for Fairness to take up the matter. "The school has included various heads under tuition fees, which are illegal and against the provisions of law. The government has failed to take any action against this school, which is looting parents in the name of an international affiliation," said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness.

BB Chavan, deputy director of education, Mumbai region said that any hike above 15 per cent is illegal. "We have set up a Divisional Fee Regulation committee under the Fee Regulation Act, which conducts hearings against illegal practices by the school. If a school is increasing fees by more than 15 per cent, the PTA should directly approach the panel and file a complaint against the school." When contacted, Sunita Pant, principal of Abhay International School, said, "The main reason for the fee hike is that we are changing our board from SSC to ICSE. We also want to improve the infrastructure. The proposal has only been placed before the PTA, which is yet to convey its final decision."

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