As Maharashtra schools continue to hike fees, parents demand an audit

Updated: 09 July, 2020 08:01 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Online petition demands to see balance sheets of schools with an annual fee of Rs 30,000 and above; parents say they don't mind paying only if fees go towards paying teachers' salaries, justified costs

Anubha Sahai, president, India Wide Parents Association
Anubha Sahai, president, India Wide Parents Association

Amid a financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have demanded that schools having an annual fee of over Rs 30,000 be audited as many of them across several cities have hiked their fees. An online petition in this regard has garnered significant support.

Although the state government has ordered schools against it, many have been hiking fees in the name of paying salaries. "Most of the schools are profiteering and charging exorbitant fees from parents. They are hiking fees every year without giving proper justification. Now their reason is that they have to pay teachers salaries. This, even though they have a huge surplus. Some schools are also charging transport fees and various other fees under different heads. We are ready to pay fees that will help them meet teachers' salaries, but we also want them to share the balance sheet," states the petition that has received around 1,100 signatures in around 15 hours. The petition extends its scope to schools in Thane, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, and Aurangabad.

A parent, Anubha Sahai, president of India Wide Parents Association (IWPA), who started the petition, said, "I am not surprised to see such a huge response to the petition because I am aware how each parent is troubled. We have raised this issue several times but no solution has been worked out yet. We appeal to the chief minister of Maharashtra to conduct an audit of schools. Audits are a part of the Right To Education (RTE) Act but never conducted. We keep hearing about schools complaining that they need money for teachers' salaries, but at the same time, there are so many teachers complaining of salary cuts, terminations. We as parents would like to know where our money is going. The state government issued an order but it was more like a suggestion as it did not specify action against schools who continue to exploit us."

No. of signatures received by the petition

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First Published: 09 July, 2020 07:25 IST

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