Monday, May 6, 2013

Parents unhappy about Madras HC verdict on school fees

Parents unhappy about Madras HC verdict on school fees

TNN May 2, 2013, 03.25AM IST

COIMBATORE: Ever since the Madras HC issued its verdict on Monday allowing private schools to exempt fees charged for extra curricular and co-scholastic activities from the purview of the fee determination committee and state government, parents are worried about its impact on their finances. Many feel that private schools now have the opportunity to collect excess fees for such activities. Many city schools witnesses protests staged by parents over the issue.
The Division Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice K Ravichandrabaabu disposed on Monday a writ petition filed by a school from Thiruvottriyur, saying that co-curricular activities held after school hours do not form an integral part of curriculum activities, but are optional programmes for students. At the same time, the High Court warned schools against fleecing parents. In such cases the parents will have the option of approaching the state government or the CBSE.

Parents however feel that schools will take advantage of this verdict. "Now schools will charge any amount of money in the name of extra-curricular activities," said N Ashiq, whose son studies in a matriculation school in Peelamedu. There are schools which conduct an hour of yoga and spoken English classes and charge exorbitant fees for these after school classes. What is the purpose of holding spoken English classes at an English medium school, he asks. Parents feel this is a ploy to charge extra money.
On the other hand, schools are concerned about students admitted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. According to the Act, schools have to admit 25% of students from the economically backward class, providing them free education. The government will reimburse schools for the free education provided. However, it is questionable if the schools will be reimbursed for the free extra curricular activities offered to these students.
R Manimohan, Chairman of Students' Welfare Association of Parents ( SWAP) says this will result in discrimination against the poorer students. Other students too, who do not opt for these extra activities will be discriminated against, he added. He says that the government should appeal against the order, presenting all relevant facts before the court.
Private schools feel that this is an important step to enhance the quality of education. "Most people who run educational institutions have noble intentions. However we are unable to implement several ideas because of the limitations created in the present situation," she said. This will help schools to implement programmes that will enhance the development of students, she added.

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