Parents across schools in Mumbai are demanding a blanket waiver on infrastructure charges stating that in the absence of physical classes, schools are not incurring overhead costs for electricity, water, maintenance of labs and playgrounds as well as for extra-curricular activities. The parents refused to pay for unused services that have led to some schools removing those students from online classes. The schools, however, argued that relief can only be provided on a case-to-case basis.
A group of parents from Kharghar’s Empyrean School staged a protest on Tuesday, September 15, opposing the payment of annual maintenance charges stating that around Rs 25,000 are paid on the same every year. Meanwhile, the school has discontinued online classes for 50-60 students for non-payment of any fees since April. The school principal, Aruna Kalyanaraman said that the school has held several meetings with parents since to address these concerns. The principal also added that the overall fee reduction is not justifiable due to the financial limitations of the school.
Some schools have passed on the benefits of their savings to parents but added that they still have to pay the maintenance stuff. The principal of a school in Navi Mumbai said that the infrastructure of the school also needs to be maintained – “CCTVs have to be kept running. We have to maintain the swimming pool and the premises.”
Meanwhile, the education department has decided to set up a committee to look into the school fee dispute complaints. An official said, “We plan to conduct an audit of schools against which we have got complaints. If the probe shows that they have violated norms while charging fees under various heads, we will initiate action against them. The committee will have two panels and schools will be assigned to both for the audit.”
Source: Mumbai MirrorNews, States