Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parents asked to pay Rs 60,000 for 'development needs' of school

MUMBAI: Parents of children selected for admission by a school in Borivli were asked to shell out Rs 60,000 towards the "development needs" of the institute on Saturday.

Parents said when they arrived at the St Francis School (ICSE) in Borivli (W) to submit documents they were asked to make the payment by demand draft. The school management did not make itself available to comment on the issue.

Parents decided to write to the education department to intervene in the matter.

"We want our daughter to study in this school, but it's unfair that we have to pay this donation," an aggrieved parent said. "I can only afford to pay the fees, not beyond that."

A bunch of parents wrote to the organization Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE). Close to 130 parents were expected to submit documents and pay the Rs 60,000, which the school form said would be utilized for "development needs of St Francis School (ICSE) of the Society of the Congregation of Franciscan Brothers and it will form part of the corpus".

FFE president Jayant Jain said the payment of the Rs 60,000 was a pre-condition to securing admission in the school.

"The school conducted interviews of parents and those who agreed to pay Rs 60,000 were given an offer letter asking for the free and unconditional funds for the development of the school," Jain said.

He said the practice was illegal and prohibited under the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act of 1987, which made it a punishable offence.

"There is a provision of imprisonment of up to two years and penalty," Jain said.

On contacting the school education department, deputy director of education (school) made it clear that schools are not allowed to ask for money, other than fees. "We have given clear instructions to schools to not impose any form of capitation fee on parents during admissions. RTE rules have to be followed by all schools, regardless of their religious status. Parents should file a complaint with the education department, and we will take appropriate action on the school authorities," said N B Chavan, deputy director of school education, Mumbai division.

"We hope the education department solves this problem for us. We don't want our kids to lose their seat in this school," said another parent.

What RTE says?

According to Section 13 (2) of Right to Education (RTE) Act-no school or person, while admitting a child, can collect any capitation fee.

What Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act, 1987, says?

"Any person from whom a capitation fee or donation has been demanded or collected by the management of any educational institution or on behalf of any educational institution by any person who is charge of, or is responsible for, the management of such institution, in relation to any student in consideration of his admission to, and prosecution of, any course of study, of his promotion to a higher standard or class in such institution, may file a complaint against such management or such person, as the case may be, with the concerned police station within thirty days from the date on which such capitation fee or donation or both has been demanded or collected by such management or such person."

"We have given clear instructions to schools not to impose any form of capitation fee on parents during admission. RTE rules have to be followed by all schools, regardless of religious status. Parents should file a complaint with the education department,"said NB Chavan, deputy director of education.

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