Private school fee hike causes distress among parents

Private school fee hike causes distress among parents
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Private school fee hike causes distress among parents

Highlights

The school fee structure hike haunts parents as the academic year 2022-23 is about to begin.

Bengaluru: The school fee structure hike haunts parents as the academic year 2022-23 is about to begin. For two years, the students were mostly engaged in online classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Suresh Kumar, the former minister for primary and secondary education, had announced that private schools could collect only 85% of the tuition fees during the academic year 2021-22 keeping in view the adverse economic impact of the pandemic on households across the State. The Karnataka High Court, too, had ordered private schools to raise the rebate being offered by them from 30 to 50 percent.

However, most of the households are still at a stage of economic recovery as the incomes were hit hard during the pandemic. At this stage, the school management boards across Bengaluru have raised the school fees by 10-15%. Not just this, transportation fees, prices of school uniforms, books, and other stationeries have also been increased.

"Most of the parents shifted their children from private to government schools during the year 2021 as they could not bear the burden of school fees. Admissions for kindergarten, Prep I and Prep II, go up to Rs. 1,50,000 in certain schools. Although they do not have anything related to the practical part of the subjects, they expect the parents to pay the price just for the sake of a few colourful toys, a vibrant classroom, and a playground. It's extremely difficult for a common man who depends on daily wagesto pay even Rs. 30,000," says Roopa G.K, a teacher, and parent of a year-old.

"For almost two years, online classes were held. There were layoffs in most of the sectors, the salary of the teaching staff had also been cut down by half. Apart from this, some schools compelled the parents to pay the complete fees despite the order from the Karnataka High Court," she adds.

The admissions in private schools have drastically reduced this year and hence, the per child expenditure has been increased. "Hikes in school fees is inevitable. Several schools have increased the fees by 10-15% as they will have to give a raise to the teaching staff and pay the taxes. The admissions have also dropped by almost 35-40 percent this year, which is directly proportional to the hike in school fees. This is due to various reasons such as, economic factors, reduction in family shifting, fall in the number of people migrating from other states, and so on.The government has raised the price of the textbooks by 22-25%, electricity and fuel prices have also surged up. If there has been an irrational hike which is more than 15%, they have all the rights to file a complaint," says D. Shashikumar, General Secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS).

Numerous parents in the city are troubled with the hike in school transportation charges. "The non-teaching staff including school van drivers had no means of earning livelihood during the pandemic. Today, the cost of fuel and insurance are also high.Although we understand what the parents are going through, it is unavoidable," he adds.

Some parents are trying to save on the transportationcost by picking up and dropping their children by themselves if the schools are located nearby. "We used to pay for the school vans as we were working earlier but since the work from home culture has come up, I usually drop and pick-up my child from the school," says a resident of Hoskerehalli.

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