Despite repeated requests from parents and a warning notice from the south zone education department, St Joseph’s High School in Agripada is in no mood to roll back its unreasonable fee structure. The aided school has been asking parents of students to pay Rs 1,500 towards child development and has refused to hand over report cards to Std IX students who haven’t yet made the payments. Their results were due on Friday.
Ansari Sajjad, parent of a Std IX student, said, “The school refused to give us report cards if we didn’t pay up Rs 1,500. They also force students to bring money on the pretext of some gifts or the other, force them to put stalls in the school funfair to collect money.”
On March 19, the education department had sent a warning to the school stating that the institution can be derecognised if it doesn’t stop collecting money from students. But the rap seems to have had no effect. A group of parents have filed a complaint with the education inspector of the south zone education department and plan to file a writ petition against the school soon.
Apart from the mandatory nominal fee of Rs 5, the school has been charging for books, files, classroom repairs, fun fair activities and even advertisements, among others. Parents went to the Agripada police station but returned with very little luck. The police officers refused to file a complaint against the school.
Mohammed Zahir Ansari, another parent of a Std VIII student, said, “We are fed up of this constant demand for money. The school is aided and receives grants from the government.” When MiD DAY contacted the Principal Sister Lovena regarding this issue, she refused to comment.
An official from the south zone education department said, “This school is aided and thus they are not allowed to collect money from students. An enquiry can be conducted on them.” Nana Kute Patil, an RTI activist from Buland Chhawa Maratha Yuva Parishad said, “Schools cannot extort money from parents. We will take out a morcha against the school, if they don’t stop this activity.”
Apart from the mandatory fee, the Agripada-based school charges these additional fees
Child development fee: Rs 1,500
Annual computer fee: Rs 600
For notebooks: Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,500
For files: Rs 200
Funfair charges per student: Rs 400