Mumbai: Dombivli school to face state probe over fee hike

Apr 17, 2015, 11:46 IST | Dharmendra Jore

State Education Minister Vinod Tawde said his department would serve a notice to Royal International School and also send education inspectors to look into parents' allegations

Royal International School in Dombivli will have a lot to explain to the government after taking an allegedly arbitrary decision to hike fees and denying entry to students who have refused to pay the hefty amount.

Royal International School in Dombivli
Royal International School in Dombivli

Following mid-day’s reports, School Education Minister Vinod Tawde has assured a probe in the allegations against the school, and promised action, if needed. The minister dismissed the school’s claim that the state government did not govern it because it was an unaided institution under the CBSE board.

Tawde said his department was authorised by law to seek explanations and regulate the school if it violated stipulated rules and regulations. “My department will serve a notice to the erring school. I will also ask education inspectors to visit the school for probing the allegations levelled by the parents,” he told mid-day on Thursday.

Take a hike
About 70-80 parents of children studying in the primary section of Royal International School have alleged that the management had promised to levy a fee of R20,000 till Std IV and that the current hiked fee of Rs 26,000 had not been discussed with them.

The agitated parents recorded the conversation with one of the trustees, Rajnikant Shah, who told them that he had paid Rs 6 crore to buy the school land and would recover the cost through school fees (see box). He had also asked the school to refuse entry to any child whose parents hadn’t paid the revised fees.

Shah later claimed, while speaking to this paper, that parents had been informed about hiking fees in the primary section. According to Tawde, the school will have to answer as to why a Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) was not formed. The minister also said that a school was allowed to hike fees only after the approval of the PTA, and a hike can be introduced (of not more than 15 per cent) only once in two years.

However, he clarified that the state’s regulations on fees did not apply to pre-primary classes. He said many complaints that his department received, were about increase in fees when students were promoted to the primary level from kindergarten. “Parents complain when they notice a huge difference between the fees they pay for the nursery/kindergarten and primary levels,” he said.

The incident

>> mid-day first reported on April 15 that protesting parents of students at Royal International School in Dombivli had gone to meet the trustee, Rajnikant Shah, asking for an explanation for the fee hike in primary section

>> They had said that the school had promised to keep the same fee as kindergarten

>> They even recorded a video of the conversation on the sly

>> The trustee was seen in the video saying he had paid Rs 6 crore for the school land and would only recover it through fees. He also said he didn’t have to follow state government rules since he received no aid from them

>> Shah also refused the parents’ demand to allow a PTA body a violation of a mandate as per the Right to Education Act, 2009

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