Several parents from private schools across Mumbai said they were approached by Pride Group, a private company that claimed to have a tie-up with the state government and promised to pay 50 percent of the fees on the behalf of parents.
The parents, who were approached are planning to write to the state education department complaining against a private company for offering them “discounts” on school fees.
A parent, whose child studies in a Vile Parle based school said, “The company said they would give us discounts depending on the fee that our school charged. In return, we were asked to pay Rs 2500 to the personal account of one of their heads.”
Parents were also asked to submit several documents like the Aadhar card, copies of their child’s school calendar, and photographs.
Anil Sabale, deputy director of education for the Mumbai region said the education department would give out a disclaimer on all its websites stating that it had nothing to do with this company – “We will do so after we see the complaints filed by parents. Meanwhile we urge parents not to fall for such traps.”
Soni Shelar, a representative who had approached a few parents was contacted by HT, who asked them to speak to her office staff. An employee named Nazim, who identified herself as the manager of the company said, “We do not have any recognition from the central or state government. We are not an NGO or trust even and are only a private firm.”
While asked about their funding model, she said, “We have a mediator who does this work for us and parents are thus charged a processing fee.” She denied commenting after asked about the norms under which the company made such arrangements and as per the company’s website, it claims to be an “education centre in Mumbai” with its office based out of Bhendi Bazaar.
As per the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2011, private unaided schools in the state can fix their own fees. While the government has set a cap on the extent of fee hike, there is no such provision for private companies to tie up with the government and schools to waive off students’ fees. Even the scholarships offered by the central and state government are for students from socially and economically backward classes.
Source: Hindustan TimesNews, States