The parents of the students studying in private/unaided schools around the state are experiencing confusion and distress, at the same time, with these schools increasing the fees by at least 10 per cent, and sending WhatsApp messages to parents as regards payment of the fees for three months from June to August.
Ironically, the education department is yet to announce the date for school reopening for the academic year 2010-21.
A department of education source said the private/unaided schools are allowed by the government to hike their fees annually by a maximum of 10 per cent.
“There is a committee of the department, which gives approval to these schools as to what should be the fee hike,” the source added.
The DoE source further stated that the aided schools however cannot hike the fees, pointing out that there is no question about the government schools charging any fees.
Many of the parents, whose children are studying in private/unaided schools in Panaji and Margao, complained that the schools are charging fees for the months of June and July, when the classes may not reopen until August.
They also maintained that apart from demanding the hiked fees for three months, these schools are also charging money for books and uniforms from the students.
“The fees in my daughter’s primary school have been increased from Rs 3,700 per month to Rs 4,000 per month from the forthcoming academic year,” a parent, whose daughter studies in an unaided school in Panaji disclosed, adding that apart from the three-month fee amounting Rs 12,000, her daughter has been asked to pay for other accessories like books and uniforms, hiking the entire three month amount to be paid to Rs 17,000.
“In fact, these schools cannot sell books and uniforms as they have no trade licence,” the parent observed, terming the entire process illegal, and seeking the intervention of the DoE, in the matter. Interestingly, there are a few schools whose one section, say primary section, is unaided, while other section,
say secondary section, is aided. This has created further confusion in the minds of the parents.
A principal of one of the unaided schools in the state, on the condition of anonymity, stated that the parents have been asked to pay fees for the months of June, July and August as the schools need to pay the salaries of the teachers and other staff, during these months.
“We can’t refuse salaries to our teachers and other staff members for the months of June and July, if the schools are to reopen in August,” the principal argued.
The DoE sources stated that till now no complaint has been received from any teacher as regards their salaries being slashed or not paid for previous months, as a direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic.