Saturday, March 30, 2013

Parents charge school with discrimination

Parents charge school with discrimination

J Arockiaraj, TNN Jun 28, 2012, 04.33AM IST

MADURAI: Parents of students studying in a private school here approached the district administration on Wednesday, alleging that the institution followed a double schedule to discriminate against students apart from charging exorbitant fees. S Umar Farooq, secretary of the Mary Ann Matriculation School Students' Parents Association, submitted a petition to the district administration charging that the school functioned from 8.30 am to 2.20 pm for students who paid government stipulated fees, while there were additional classes held for those who paid the fees demanded by the school.
"As per the fees fixed by the government and the 15% hike through court order, the school should collect Rs 5,750 for kindergarten, Rs 7,215 for classes one to five, Rs 8,280 for classes six to eight, Rs 11,208 for classes nine and ten and Rs 13,743 for those studying in classes eleven and twelve. However, the school collected Rs 19,000 for kindergarten, Rs 20,000 for classes one to five, Rs 23,000 for classes six to eight, Rs 27,000 for classes nine and ten and Rs 30,000 for those studying in classes eleven and twelve," he rued. Besides, the school has neither displayed the government fees and the increased fee through court order, nor are they giving receipts for the additional fees they collect, Farooq stated.

The issue of parents opposing the exorbitant fees collected in the particular school has been going on for a few years. The parents were paying the school fees through the office of the inspector of matriculation schools. But they complained that since they were paying the fees stipulated by the government, their wards were sent home by 2.20 pm while other students continued school till 5 pm. "Our children are emotionally disturbed that the other students are getting additional classes. This is very discriminating," Farooq charged.
When contacted, A Jayapaul, chairman of the Mary Ann School said the school ended by 2.20 pm with regular classes. "The additional classes with external teachers were held as demanded by parents and students. We have to think about the parents who are co-operative with the school management as well," he said. A group of parents are always rebellious about some issue. "The school was started 25 years ago with a motive for service and it is not easy to run it with the soaring inflation and difficulty of finding talented teachers. Parents who sought the intervention of district administration should have approached the school management with their problems," he added.
Inspector of matriculation schools, A Gnanagowri said she would investigate the alleged discrimination against students of the school. "We will investigate the charges and if found to be true, we will seek an explanation from the school authorities," she said.
Last year, another renowned school followed the method of double schedule between students who paid government fees and those who paid the amount demanded by the school. The school asked the parents to donate a certain amount to a welfare association and students of the parents who obliged, were given additional classes. Irked by this, a section of parents had approached the Madurai Bench and got a stay order.
The issue of exorbitant fees appears to prevail in aided schools as well. On June 18, S Sivakumar and C Sethuraman from Tiruparankundram submitted a petition to the district administration in this regard.
Henri Tiphagne, special representative for RTE in Tamil Nadu said private schools indulging in such a discriminating practice would amount to a criminal offence which can be considered as cheating. "Double schedule for the students in a school is a discriminating practice and it is against the Right to Education Act," he stressed.

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