South Mumbai school forces parents to buy overpriced stationery in-house

Parents of students accuse management of Colaba's Scholar High School of targeting their children for refusing to pay Rs 3,000 as stationery fee

Not buying stationery items from the school has led to teachers ignoring their children’s academic work, allege a few parents whose children study at Scholar High School in Colaba.

The Scholar High School in Colaba
The Scholar High School in Colaba

They claim their children are being targeted because they questioned the school’s fee structure and additional charges levied under various categories, including stationery fee. The school, affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), charges Rs 3,000 as stationery fee that includes notebooks, class-works sheets, school calendar, fee-books, etc.

Parents speak
One of the protesting parents, said, “For a 100-page notebook, available in the market for anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 20, the school charges Rs 30. All they do is just print their logo on it. Why should we pay extra for it? Moreover, items like calendars should be given free considering the exorbitant fee the school charges.”

Another parent, whose child is in Std V said his son was not given paper-sheets during a class-work session because he had refused to pay the stationery fee.

“He had to write in his notebook. I even received a call from the school teacher, saying that the next time my son won’t be allowed to attend class-work sessions if he doesn’t have paper-sheets,” the parent added, saying, “It is a sort of discrimination. You can’t single out a child in a class for such things. It affects the child’s psyche. We have to keep cheering him up to help him get over it. We are tired of arguing with this school, as it refuses budge from its stand.”

Principal speak
Principal Vanita Mansukhani said that all the allegations levelled against the school by the parents were false. When questioned about school charging stationery fee, she replied, “The school functions by adhering to all the necessary rules and regulations.”

Expert opinion
Jayant Jain, president of NGO Forum for Fairness in Education, said, “This is exploitation of parents. Why should they be charged for stationery above the regular fee? Why should it be mandatory to buy stationery from the school? Parents should decide on this. Most importantly, it is unacceptable to single out a child for a trivial reason.”

Past controversy
The school had courted controversy in the past for charging exorbitant fee and levying additional charges under various categories, which was in gross violation of the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act. The school was asked to explain the additional charges and fee and whether these were PTA-approved after parents approached the Deputy Director of Education.

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