The parents of students studying in private schools have once again demanded formation of a regulatory commission by the state government to check the alleged practice of frequent increase in tuition fees, charging annual charges etc, besides recurrent change of schools dresses and books.
The parents have been agitating against managements of private schools for several years as it has become a general practice by these schools to increase their ‘profits’ making the parents to pay through their nose.
Many parents complain, “In the new academic session many schools have enhanced the tuition fees by as high as 20 percent, transportation charges by 10 to 20 percent, cost of school uniforms and books by 30 percent bringing an extra burden on their pockets.”
Despite instruction from the education authorities to managements of private schools not to sell books and school dresses directly or through selected shops, majority private schools are selling these through selected shops.
A parent sending her children to a private school in Mandi said, “The school management has authorized a book shop which sells books of this school only; they have prepared a bundle of books and notebooks for the whole year and pressurize parents to buy the complete bundle at exorbitant prices leaving little choice for them”, she adds.
Parents rue, “You are forced to buy books and uniforms from the selected shops at the whims of the show owners who find this an opportunity to mint money at the cost of parents.”
“On the direction of the Himachal Pradesh High Court in 2016, the education department had issued guidelines to private schools to check unreasonable increase in fees, not to charge annual charges, not to frequently change uniforms and school books, but private schools give two hoots to such directions”, allege Charta Abhibhavak Sangh.
State president of Chhatra Abhibhavak Sangh Vijender Mehra said, “Majority private schools are charging annual charges despite the High Court directions to stop this practice, enhancing fees and transportation charges indiscriminately and changing books and uniforms frequently to earn commission from the sellers.”
The previous BJP government on two occasions tried to enact a law to regulate private schools in the state but withdrew it at the last minute allegedly under the duress of private schools.
The Chhatra Abhibhavk Sangh has once again demanded formation of an authority to regulate private schools by enacting a law in the current session of HP Assembly failing which they would launch a statewide agitation.