BHUBANESWAR: Members of Odisha Parent Associations' Forum on Saturday demanded formulation of a separate law to regulate fees of private schools in the State. They took out a protest rally at Master Canteen Square over the recent fee hike in private schools and demanded constitution of a regulatory body to monitor the functioning of all private schools. They were joined by parents of students of different private schools in the city, who later staged a demonstration in front of the Assembly.
Parents demanded imposition of a ceiling limit of fee hike and maintenance of uniformity in fees from LKG to Class X. Among other things, they sought one-time collection of infrastructure development fee instead of every month and uniformity in admission charges.One of the agitating parents said last year, they paid `1,400 per month for Class III but the fee rose to `2,710 in Class IV, a hike of 93 per cent (pc) within one academic year. "Worse, the school authorities do not give us any prior notice for the fee hike. None of the parents raised a voice against this unhealthy practice fearing harassment of their children," he said.
Co-convenor of the forum Sanjukta Panigrahi said private schools should follow the Supreme Court recommendation of 15 pc fee hike every year. In violation of the apex court directive, private schools are increasing the fees manifold in the absence of any monitoring and regulatory authority over them, she said, adding that states like Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra have already passed laws to this effect.
The members alleged that due to lack of monitoring by the State Government, running a private school has become an extremely profitable affair in Odisha. While some private schools are hiring trained teachers, they are not paying them proper salary and in some other schools, untrained teachers are being hired which ultimately reflects on the quality of education imparted. Even as the State Government has time and again announced to constitute a regulatory body for private schools, nothing such has been done so far.