Despite the state government’s order for restraints, a number of private schools in the city are allegedly pressurising parents for payment of fee.
Some schools have allegedly also threatened parents to cancel admission of their wards for non-payment of fees. Father of a Class 3 student Dhiraj Kumar said, “My daughter goes to a private school located near Bypass. The school asked me to pay Rs 14,650 which includes Rs 9000 for term fee, Rs.2,400 for bus fee and Rs 3,250 for tuition fee in April. Now I am again getting reminders for depositing May-June fees.”
Kumar said, “Despite the DM’s order, the school has asked to pay term fee and transportation fee. It seems that the private schools have gone beyond the government’s jurisdiction.” He also alleged that the school has hiked tuition fee by 12.92 % and transportation fee by 14.58% than the previous year.
Another parent Avinash Singh said, “The school has asked me to pay more than Rs. 40,000 which includes Rs.14,000 under annual fee, Rs. 5000 as security deposit along with Rs 1600 as transportation charge.”
Some of the schools have asked parents to pay three-month instalment without any relaxation.
In April, Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi had issued an order instructing all the private schools not to pressurise parents for depositing three months’ fee at a time in the wake of coronavirus lockdown. However, the order stated that schools facilitating online classes may request for one-month tuition fee but they cannot exert pressure on parents.
The private schools have their own alibi to collect fees normally. “Why private schools be restrained, if government schools are allowed to collect fees?” asked Shamael Ahmad, national president of Private Schools and Children Welfare Association, arguing that the schools have to bear recurring operational costs such as rent and electricity bills even if they are closed. Ahmad also complained that government utilises resources of private schools including their buses during election. But when it comes to offer them relief packages or relaxation, government steps back.
On Sunday, regional deputy director of Education Surendra Kumar Sinha informed that showcause letter had been issued to 28 schools so far. He said, “A total of 28 private schools have been served show-cause notice on violation of Bihar Private School (Fee Regulation) Act 2019. They have been commissioned to reply attached with fee structure of current and last academic year. Of total, 12 schools have replied so far. Some of them have asked time period until lockdown lifts.”