CHENNAI: A day after schools were allowed to reopen for admissions, parents in the city have complained about being asked to pay the full fees despite government regulations. In response, School Education Department officials said that action will be taken against any school that forces parents to pay the full fees.
While the Madras High Court, in view of the lockdown last year, ruled that schools can collect only 75 per cent of the fees in two installments for the academic year 2020-21, School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi on Monday told reporters that schools must follow the same this year too. He said, "They must continue to follow the court rules and collect only up to 75 per cent of the fees in two parts." It is unclear if an official order will be issued by the government on the matter. Poyyamozhi however added that action will be taken against schools that do not follow these regulations.
Nonetheless, parents say this has not deterred schools. Members of the SBOA School and Junior College Parents Association, meeting reporters on Tuesday, said that the school continues to charge the full fees and further added that parents were compelled to pay book and uniform fees against CBSE regulations. "They have only informed us of the total fees and not given us any break-up. Class teachers have been calling us threatening not to promote our children or allow them into online classes if we do not pay the full fees," said S Sahil, one of the parents.
The principal of the school K Manoharan told The New Indian Express, "We have asked only for installment one and two. Many parents are yet to pay even that. Some parents are yet to pay the fees for even the academic year 2019-20." Responding to the allegations made by the parents association, he said, "Regarding this I have to consult with my management before commenting. We will reply to the government if they ask."
In another incident, parents of Narayana E-Techno School, Arumbakkam, staged a protest outside the school campus on Tuesday, demanding that the school follow fee regulations. "The school took only 75 per cent of the fees from us last year. This year they have hiked the fees by 16-25 per cent across different classes and have asked us to pay the full fees," said one of the protesting parents. He added that the school has further demanded that parents pay an additional 10 per cent of the previous academic year's fee and 60 per cent of this year's fee to accept their wards into online classes, which started on Monday. The New Indian Express could not reach the school management for comment.
Another parent, on condition of anonymity said that she did not enroll her son in kindergarten this year as the school demanded a fee of over Rs 50,000 even as classes would be held online only for an hour each day. "Children do not even get toys or other facilities. We cannot afford such expensive kindergarten education in the middle of a pandemic," she said.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, A Anitha, the Chief Education Officer of Chennai, said, "The department will look into and inquire into every complaint we get on this issue. Our officials visited Narayana (E-Techno) School today. We will take action against any school if it is asking for full fees," she asserted.