July 31, 2012

July 30, 2012

Fee hike: Again rift seen between parents, school

Saturday, 28 July 2012 12:24  BHOPAL
In want of fee regulation in the private schools, the rift between parents and school administration over fees hike has increased in St Theresa School and Campion school on Friday.

Meanwhile, some more parents of different schools are approaching School Education Department with complaints against school administration for fees hike.

St Theresa School fees hike matter again surfaced on Thursday when school administration asked the parents to deposit fees of May and June month also. In May and June, the schools remain closed due to summer holidays and fees were not charged for these two months. Parents’ complaint to District Education Officer CM Upadhyay on Friday that they were not given any prior notice about this and beside that if they pay fees of these two months also then the fees hike will be around 45 per cent.

DEO Upadhyay said coordination with school administration will be made and action will be taken after investigation of the matter. The St Theresa School of Piplani area had this year once again hiked the fees by 60 per cent. The angry parents protested outside the school on July 5. Parents were demanding roll back the hike. After school education department’s interference fee hike was rolled back and only 20 per cent of the tuition fees was increased. Later school administration declared that parents have to deposit fees of May and June month also.

Meanwhile, parents whose children study in St Mary’s school of Tulsi Nagar complaint to DEO Upadhyay as the school administration increased fees from `3,000 to `5,000 of every student from this academic session. Parents complained that excessive financial burden is being forced on them. DEO Upadhyay said the matter will be investigated.

Meanwhile, on Friday, parents of students studying in Campion school, Bairagarh reached Khajuri police station and filed a complaint against school administration. Shiksha Sudhar Morcha Coordinator Gopal Mukhariya said Campion school was administered on the name of CBSE affiliation for last 5 years but in reality it has affiliation from MP board. Parents got their children’s admitted in the school as they told it was affiliated from CBSE.

Mukhariya said case of fraud should be lodged against school administration for cheating the parents.

No relief from school fee hike this year

Mumbai: Looks like parents still have to wait a while before a new Act comes in place preventing schools from riding roughshod over them in the matter of fee hikes. The much awaited school fee regulation Act, though passed by the state legislature last year, is now stuck in limbo, as two union ministries reviewing it have sought clarifications on certain aspects.

The Act, once implemented, will limit the fee hikes imposed on parents by schools to one every two years. It was passed by the state legislature in August last year, and then forwarded for approval to the President of India. As part of this process, the draft of the Act was also forwarded to various government ministries for comment. Two months ago, two union ministries — Law and Justice and Human Resource Development – sent letters to the state government with some queries on the Act, a senior state government official revealed. These developments have caused the law to lapse into a state of limbo. The official added that it was unlikely the Act would come into effect in time for the new academic session, which will take off in a few weeks.

The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fees) Act, 2011 was passed by the state legislature unanimously after a 27-member joint select committee, comprising members from both ruling and Opposition parties, approved of the draft.

What the Act says:
As per the provisions of the Act, educational institutes will be able to hike fees only once every two years. The Act also makes it mandatory for the schools to form Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and discuss the proposed fee structure before a hike. Only after the PTA approval will the school be able to increase the fees.

Once the law comes into effect, a two-tier structure will be instituted, including a divisional fee regulatory committee and a state level review committee. Both will consider the fee hike proposals, before giving their approval. The committees will be empowered to take action against any school that violates the provisions of the Act. After verification of the complaint, the divisional committees can slap fines ranging from Rs 1-5 lakh on the errant schools, or even send the straying individual to jail for three years.

The state minister for Education, Rajendra Darda, said, “The Education Secretary, who is in Delhi at the moment, would be in a better position to provide details about the status of the bill. I would be able to provide you a clearer picture tomorrow.”

Futile protest?
The unrest over the erratic fee hikes effected by schools gathered steam last year, when angst-ridden parents joined hands with teachers activists and protest groups like Forum Against Commercialization of Education (FACE) and went on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan. Officials from the education department met the protesters invited them to meet the education minister. The strike was called off when the protestors were given assurances that the Act would be passed soon.

Jayant Jain, president, All India Federation of PTA, says, "The bill has been prepared by the state government, but unless it is signed by the President, it cannot be implemented. It is the state government’s duty to follow up with the President and take her signature as soon as possible. Because of this delay, many schools that hiked their fees last year have increased it this year as well."

Arundhati Chavhan, president, PTA United Forum, says, "It is our state government’s duty to keep tabs on the movement of the bill and follow it up with the President." Dr Deven Naik, president, Forum against Commercialization of Education, says, "The bill in its final form was ready in 2011, after many rectifications were made according to suggestions that came to the state government. Though the present education minister is keen on implementing the bill, it seems the department authorised to follow up with the President is working slowly to enforce its implementation."

Sanjay Jadhav, member, Forum For Fairness in Education, says, "Even if it is implemented, I don’t think the rules will be followed by any school religiously." Sajid Momeen, a parent, says "May be some internal political issue is responsible for the delay in implementation. May be the president is busy with her foreign tours."

July 9, 2012

Sakshi | 9th July, 2012 | Hyderabad

Going to school not so safe anymore

This year about 215 school buses were seized for various violations: senior transport official

Reckless:Auto drivers carry eight to 10 children in one trip even though the law restricts them from carrying more than six children.– Photo: Nagara Gopal A new academic year has commenced, triggering many problems for parents, particularly regarding the transportation of their children to schools. In addition to the rising transportation fee, safety of children is another worrying factor for parents these days.

The Transport Department has listed out many rules that vehicle owners should adhere to while carrying children in school buses and auto-rickshaws. But many still violate them, risking the children’s safety.

While some school managements ignore the necessity to have an attendant in the school bus, many auto drivers carry eight to 10 children in one trip. This is even after the law restricts them from carrying more than six children in one auto.

There are about 1,500 school and college buses in the city. Every year, before the commencement of a new academic year, the Transport Department seizes many school buses for operating without valid documents. This year, about 215 school buses were seized for various violations, explains Joint Transport Commissioner G. Panduranga Rao.

Apart from the lack of a fitness certificate, other violations include drivers operating the bus without valid licence, poor maintenance, attendants driving the bus etc. Though most managements have a fleet of good vehicles, there is still scope for improvement, he adds.

Managements charge about Rs.1,500 to Rs.2,000 per month per child as transportation fee and yet do not find the need to follow rules, points out Hyderabad Schools Parents Association president N. Ravi Kumar.

Auto-rickshaws charge about Rs.800 a child per month but parents are not assured that their wards will have a safe and comfortable journey.

July 5, 2012

Private schools to hold protest rally on July 7

HYDERABAD: Demanding that educational institutions be brought under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), hundreds of schools have decided to hold a rally in the city on July 7.

The protest is being organised by Andhra Pradesh Recognised Schools Managements Association which has about 17,000 schools across the state under its wing.

Protesting school managements said as many as 40 working days were lost due to bandh calls in the last academic year of 2011-12.

Even as the schools reopened on June 12 this year, two holidays were announced owing to bandh calls given by various student unions. School managements said they were forced to work even on Sundays to make up for the lost working days in the last academic year to complete the portions.

"Class X students who appear for the board examinations are put to test during the bandh days. They come under a lot of pressure," said S Sreenivas Reddy, president of the association. Only students belonging to class VIII and IX will participate in the rally, officials of the organization said.

The rally, which will start at 10am on July 7, will conclude at Indira Park.

"Political parties and student unions should exempt schools from bandhs as children at that age can hardly understand politics. They only stand to lose in the long run," said Reddy.

July 2, 2012

Let school panels ensure bus safety

Despite recent measures, school bus safety is still a matter of grave concern for parents. With the start of the new academic year, they admit that they still do not feel secure letting their children commute by these buses.

Meanwhile, experts say the responsibility for school bus safety should be given to the school bus committees appointed within the schools.

Shatabdi Bannerjee from Mira Road, whose daughter takes the bus to school every day, said, “Every time I put my child in the school bus, my heart skips a beat thinking about whether she will return safe and sound at the end of the day. But there is no other choice as my husband and I are working professionals who take trains to work.”

Parents who decided to start carpooling their children to school after several school bus mishaps, are now at their wits’ end. Santa Cruz resident and parent Asmita Mogre said, “Worried about school bus safety, four parents in our locality began a carpool. But that has stopped after the petrol price hike. Our children are back to taking the school bus.”

The latest government resolution has stated that schools that do not own their buses but hire buses on contract will no longer be held responsible in case of a mishap. With nearly 80% of schools employing contract buses, this GR has invoked the wrath of parents as they feel that school authorities will wash their hands of their children’s safety and not ensure that mandated norms are in place in the buses.

Experts have recommended that school bus committees formed by schools should be given responsibility to ensure school bus safety. Jayant Jain, president of Forum For Fairness In Education, said, “School bus contractors are appointed by school authorities.

Then why can’t they be held responsible? If schools are not held accountable, they will not look into the appointment of the contractor seriously.

“School bus committees have to be appointed as per government norms and should include all stakeholders like the principal, RTO officer, a parent and the bus operator as well. This committee should be given joint responsibility for child safety,’’ he said.
Sakshi | 02.07.2012 | Page 9