Mumbai: Night school fee goof-up leaves 124 HSC students stranded
When others their age were appearing for their HSC exams, these students were deprived of the opportunity because circumstances forced them to work to feed themselves and their families. Now in their 20s and their 30s, they were thirsty enough for education to work through the day and attend college in the evening to be able to appear for their HSC exam this year.
Each of the 124 students had paid the exam fee to the college. Pics/Suresh KK
Little did they know, however, that their college was allegedly playing with their future. 124 students from the Sahakar Education Society, a night school and junior college on N M Joshi Marg in Lower Parel, were left wondering if they had failed when their HSC results were reserved by the state board yesterday.
The students include a BMC worker trying to work his way to a graduation and a 30-year-old who is paying for her education by working in a private company. They said they thought they had failed when they heard their results were reserved
While the college authorities told them the results were reserved due to a technical snag, the chairman of the Mumbai divisional board told mid-day that this was done because the college failed to submit the examination fees for the students. This, despite collecting R480 for the purpose for each student, even though the board’s fees are only between Rs 300 and Rs 350.
“My brother was depressed when he tried to check his result and found out that it had been reserved. We assumed he had failed the examinations, but found out later that everyone from the college had not got their results. That’s when we realised that there had to be some other problem,” said Amit Chogle, the brother of one of the students.
Since classes are held at the college between 7 pm and 10 pm, most students, who also work during the day, gathered at the campus in the evening, looking for answers. One of the people who had gathered was Jyoti Kulye (30), a resident of Lower Parel who works in a private company in Mahalaxmi and has been trying to finish her education by paying for it herself.
“I was depressed when I checked my result online. I immediately rushed to college, but there was nobody on the premises to give us any clarity. Finally, a board was put up mentioning some technical snag, but nobody gave us any proper answers,” she said.
Up in smoke?
With no replies coming from the college authorities, some of the students ended up calling the board helpline and were shocked when they were told that their results were held back because the institute had not paid the examination fees.
“We pay a monthly fee of Rs 600 and had paid Rs 480 in the name of examination fees for the HSC exams. What has the management done with the money?” asked one of the students. When mid-day checked with board officials, they said every student has to pay Rs 300-350 (depending on selection of subjects) as examination fees.
Pandurang Todkar (27), who works in Borivli as a supervisor in a private company and stays close to the college, said, “My family back in Satara has been calling to ask about my result, as everyone else they know has got their results.
I had no answer, because even I thought I had failed. I put in a lot of effort to pass my exam and I’m working every day not only to fund my education, but also to feed myself and pay for my rent here. It’s really unfair that we have to suffer because of our institute,” he said.
Vikas Pawar (32), a BMC worker who lives in Titwala, is also one of the sufferers. “I work during the day and study in the evening as I wish to complete my graduation. How can an educational institute take our lives and careers for granted and play with our future like this?” he asked. The students demanded answers from the college authorities last evening and, since no clear replies were forthcoming, have decided to approach state Education Minister Vinod Tawde for help.
When mid-day contacted the Mumbai divisional board chairman of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education, Laxmikant Pande, he said that the results of these students will be released the minute the school pays the examination fees.
“We checked and found that the college authorities have not yet paid the examination fees of their students, and that is the main reason for results being withheld. The principal of the institute has been contacted and he has assured us that the amount will be sent to the board office on Thursday.
We will release the results immediately after that,” he said. Pande added that, other than these students, only the repeater candidates who did not submit all their documents did not receive their results yesterday.
The other side
The college principal, Subhash Jadhav, however, refuted Pande’s claims. “We have paid the fees and are checking the reason behind the problem with the board authorities. We believe it is a technical snag and our students will get their results in two days,” he said. When he was asked when the examination fees was paid and the amount, Jadhav refused to comment and switched off his phone.