Source: The Times of India

Pune: Parents of a number of students from the Vibgyor high school at NIBM Road staged demonstrations in front of the school building on Monday morning to protest against what they termed as an arbitrary increase in tuition fees by the school management. They say the hike is in violation of the provisions of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2011.School authorities, meanwhile, have said that the act has not been violated and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) was consulted before the decision to increase the fees was taken.

The act makes it mandatory for school managements to take prior approval of the PTA before increasing the fees. The parents have alleged that the school management has violated this provision.They have also made representations regarding this to members of the state legislative assembly and the education officer.

One parent, who refused to be named, said, “According to the act, the fees proposed by the school management have to be justified and approved by the PTA six months prior to the beginning of a new academic term. Despite several meetings, the school failed to justify the hike in fees.“

The parents gathered near the school with banners expressing their displeasure and marched to the school gate to meet with the princi pal and seek an explanation.Parents of students studying in the Magarpatta and Balewadi branches of the school also joined the protest.

In the letter submitted to the principal, the parents outlined several reasons why they think that the hike in fees is unjustified. Another parent said, “There are inadequate amenities for children in the school and the basic infrastructure needs improvement. The teachers and even the principal keep changing, affecting the discipline and studies of the children.“

In an email response to TOI, the school management said: “We have not violated any law. Being a private unaided minority institute, the Fee Regulation Act is not applicable (to us). Nevertheless the decision of fee hike was taken mainly due to an increase in staff salary , increased safety and security measures, rising inflation and increase in service tax announced in the recent Budget.“

On claims made by parents that the PTA was not consulted before the fees were increased, the management said: “The PTA was taken into consideration. We conduct parent-teacher meetings at regular intervals, and the feedback received from a recent PTA meeting was very satisfactory in terms of available facilities and quality of education in the schools. We have not received any complaints from parents regarding this. We have always maintained quality and stability in terms of teachers across all the schools. However, the Magarpatta branch principal resigned two weeks ago due to personal reasons.And we have already identified a principal who will be joining us shortly .“