'Paid Rs 6 cr for school plot, will recover it from you,' trustee to parents

Apr 15, 2015, 07:08 IST | Shreya Bhandary

Frustrated with the aarbitrary fee hike and with no explanation forthcoming from the management, a group of parents recorded a video of a conversation they had with the trustee of a school. In the video, the trustee of Royal International School in Dombivli (East) allegedly refuses to form a Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) in the school and also asked the parents, who could not pay the hiked fees, to shift their children to other institutions.

Almost 70 parents are at loggerheads with the management at Royal International School in Dombivli (East)
Almost 70 parents are at loggerheads with the management at Royal International School in Dombivli (East)

In this clip, the school trustee, R Shah, is clearly seen telling the parents that since his school receives no grant from the government, he is not entitled to follow any of the rules prescribed by the state government. He further claims that the management had invested Rs 6 crore in buying the plot on which the school currently stands, and that he could only recover this amount by charging fees.

The management official also blatantly refuses to accede to parents’ requests to form a PTA to vet the hike. It must be noted that according to the Right to Education Act, 2009, every school is rule-bound to form a PTA body.

‘Broken promise’
Almost 70 parents are at loggerheads with the management over the proposed fee hike, which the parents say was not discussed before implementation. Many parents stated that at the time of admission to kindergarten, the school had assured them that the fees would remain the same (Rs 20,000) till these students finished their primary education (up to Std IV).

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Now the school is insisting that parents fork out R 26,000 when students move to the primary section (Std I onwards). Parents also found out discrepancies in the fee structure some students in the same kindergarten class were charged Rs 26,000, while others were charged Rs 20,000 and Rs 23,000.

“We were assured that the fees would remain the same till my child finishes Std IV, but nothing was given in writing. Today the school is taking advantage of this point and jacking up the fees. When we demanded the formation of a PTA, the trustee told us very clearly that he doesn’t have to follow any government rules because it is an unaided school. Does this mean they can make their own rules?” added a frustrated parent.

“The video shows how apathetic the school management is and is not scared of the government at all. The trustee told us that he has invested Rs 6 crore in buying the land for this school and since the government doesn’t pay any grants, he will get that money from us. It looks like he’s running a business and not a school,” said another parent.

As of now, students whose parents have not paid the revised fees have been told not to come to school until they pay the full amount. “What’s worse is that the school is not even ready to give us the fee break-up. We have no clue why the fee is being hiked, because no new facilities are being provided,” a parent told mid-day. Both Shah and the school’s principal, Sumedha Mestri, couldn’t be reached for comment.

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