Early childhood education needs a re-think

Parents of students face dilemma over paying school fees in Pune

July 7, 2020

Parents in Pune, who have freshly enrolled their children in pre-school to Standard I are in a dilemma over the payment of fees. The schools have been repeatedly calling parents to make payments. While some parents are waiting for the government’s decision on reopening of schools, some are willing to take a chance of dropping school this year for their kids.

Rashmi Agarwal, parent of a three-year old, said she had taken admission for her daughter in a playgroup so that she could spend three hours of the day and socialise with other children. She added, “The kids have been at home since the lockdown. My child has not attended a single class. I get calls from the school daily to make the payment and join the online class. I don’t like the idea of an online class for my daughter and have been telling the school, but they insist on paying the fees.”

Vishal Pawar, another parent, who had paid part of the fees to his daughter’s school in January says, “My daughter is in Standard I. Given the present situation, she has not attended a single class. I have asked for a refund and cancellation of admission as I do not see the situation improving. I will retry taking admission for her next year, but the school has refused the refund.”

Some schools are threatening to cancel admissions if fees are not paid. Sumeet Sharma who son freshly enrolled for junior kindergarten says he had to go to the school and request them to not cancel his son’s admission, – “They are insisting that I pay at least 40 % so that the admission is secured.”

Dhananjay Pardeshi, the education officer at the PMC school board, said, “The government order does not allow schools to make parents pay the fee during these times. Parents can also file a complaint with the education office.”

An official from the education department, on the condition of anonymity told TOI that several schools have flouted the state government’s instructions. He added that the schools cannot increase the fees or demand upfront payment considering the situation.

Parents can either sent an email or call the education department. Officials further added that they are also tracking complaints on social media.

Source: Times of India

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