Srinagar, Nov 11: A labourer was both shocked and virtually fainted when officials at ‘Fayaz Educational Institute’ located in Srinagar outskirts asked him to pay Rs 22,600 as school fee in one go for his two wards studying in the same school.
“How can I arrange such a big amount? It may be a small amount for other person but for me it is an enormous sum. I got my two wards admitted in this school because of low fee structure but today this school is virtually in ‘looting’ mode, forcing parents to pay fee for the period when schools were not functioning,” Ajaz Ahmed who visited the office of Kashmir News Trust said requesting Lieutenant Governor to intervene and save poor population from committing ‘suicide’.
This is not a solitary case. Parents whose wards are studying in lower classes are being asked to pay Rs 10,800 by the same school.
Almost every private school in Valley is in plundering mode these days, trying to exact as much as they can from the naïve parents.
Complaints of private schools forcing parents to pay fees amidst Covid-19 pandemic are pouring in Valley.
“When the government can act tough on butchers why can’t it take the owners of private schools to task? The fault lies with the half-hearted approach of the government.
Sometimes it says parents have to pay tuition fee but not bus and annual fees and when schools violate the orders of the same government, no action is taken against the violators,” said Irfan Ahmed.
When News Agency Kashmir News Trust (KNT) asked netizens on facebook to mention the names of schools that force parents to pay fee, the names of schools mentioned by netizens were endless. They named almost every school. In fact a social worker on phone accused government officials of being in nexus with private schools and not doing anything to give respite to the parents.
“Government and these private schools don’t understand that non-government employee parents are not in a position to pay the fees due to job loss they had faced or facing during unavoidable circumstance. “There was abrogation of special status and then broke out Covid-19 pandemic. Economy crippled and everyone suffered,” said Irshad Ahmed.
“When a majority of the people was facing problem in finding jobs and food, how would they be able to pay the fees now,” he said and added that the very promotion of online classes by schools is not to facilitate education, but only to collect fees.
“If these schools can’t exempt fees, at least they should reduce the limit,” said Zahoor Ahmed.
Recently, Government appointed Chairman for Fee Fixation Committee, but it is yet not clear when this Committee will sit and decide on the fee structure.
“Private schools are collecting hefty fees, but pay only a paltry sum as salary to the teachers. Citing teachers’ salary payment is only a lame excuse to collect money from parents.”
Director Education Kashmir Muhammad Younis Malik said that government may decide about this problem in coming days but it has already been made clear that schools can charge tuition fee but not the annual and bus fee. “Annual fee can be charged installment wise and if any school forces parents to pay in one go, they will be taken to task,” Malik told KNT.