'Rs. 6000 For Stationery?': Parents Protest Private Schools Hiking Fees

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Private schools hike fees: Parents continue to organise and protest (Representative Image)

Noida:  Manish and Shruti Sinha, both working parents, moved to Greater Noida two years ago. While choosing a new school for their two sons, a day care centre within the campus was a big plus. But this year on, this facility will cost a lot more than it did before. 

The day care centre's cost has doubled, and that's just one item on the list of fees increases by the school. Apart from library, activities and sports fees hikes (15% increase each), official notices from the school even show 'soap' worth Rs. 50 being charged per student. The annual fees including bus and stationery is up almost 20%, and many parents say this is unaffordable. 

Shailendra Kumar Singh, another parent from Indirapuram Public School, says, "They continue to hike fees without any explanation for it. Some of us might actually have to consider taking education loans to afford it." A fellow parent Shashi Rani adds, "If they are charging Rs. 6000 for stationery for a child in kindergarton, where do we stand?"

This school is just one of many like it. Private schools across the country have introduced fees hikes for the upcoming academic year, many of which have been met by opposition. From Bengaluru to Chandigarh to Mumbai to Hyderabad, parents have been organising against these hikes by protesting outside school gates. 

On the other side of the gates, schools say a 10% increase is imperative keeping in might rising costs. Madhullika Sen, Director of Delhi's Tagore International School, says, "Every consumer in India understands how inflation works, we have to adjust for it. Parents also don't realise we increase teachers salaries thrice through the year, so 10% hike is necessary to keep the school functioning." However, several schools across the country have increased fees by over 10%, some even upto 40%.

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A survey of 9000 parents and grandparents across India by the citizens engagement platform LocalCircles found that 69% say schools have raised fees more than 10%, with the 6 states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the capital seeing the most excessive hikes. While the 298 private schools built on Delhi government land have not been permitted to increase school fees, the remaining 2000  private schools in Delhi NCR have no such restrictions. As final dates to turn in the fees approach, parents continue to organise and are even asking local MLAs to intervene.

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