Parents accuse schools of charging hefty amount as donations for admission

The school education department has failed to regulate the private schools in Kashmir as the elite private educational institutions continue to charge hefty amount as donations from parents at the time of admissions in the school.
Most of the private schools in Srinagar and other districts are charging donation in and admission fee in lakhs from the parents for enrolling their kids in the school. The money is charged at the time of admission in Kindergarten or any other class up to 8th.
The government has constituted a full-fledged School Fee Fixation Committee (SFFC) with a mandate to regulate the overall functioning of the private schools, but the committee has been exercising its role in a limited way.
“The committee gets active only when a parent complains against arbitrary hike in fee against private school,” an official said.
While schools are accused of fleecing parents by charging donation in lakhs at the time of admissions, the school management said no money is charged from parents as donation.
“We charge 35000 one time admission fee from parents and monthly tuition fee which ranges from Rs 2200 to Rs 2700 per child of various classes,” said Parvaiz Kaul, Principal Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson higher secondary school Srinagar.
Spokesman of Burn Hall School also said they charge only Rs 75000 at the time of new admission which includes admission fee as well as the tuition fee for the first year. “There is no concept of donation in our school,” he said.
However, there are complaints against various missionary schools of Valley and those having CBSE affiliation who are charging donation in lakhs.
“Some schools are tactfully managing this illegal profiteering and ask parents to donate this donation amount to their trust. By this they legalize the donation amount,” an official said.
“As of now, the SFFC is focusing on tuition fee and transport charge. The issue of donation demanded by schools always remains in the agenda of meetings but there is no breakthrough on this issue,” said one of the members of SFFC.
He said the admission fee may be regulated from next admission session. “We are preparing a document in this regard which will be finalized after consultation with all the members of SFFC and the law officer,” he said.
Besides donations, the government has also failed to put a check on other illegal profiteering by the schools wherein the school management install book stalls and sell uniforms within the campus at exorbitant rates. The books and uniforms are not kept available in open market where parents can purchase them after bargaining.
“The books and uniforms available on the school campus are sold at fixed price by the school management. There is no check from the government on this issue as well,” said Muhammad Altaf, a parent from Srinagar, adding that the circulars and orders of education department are not implemented on the ground.
A top official in the education department meanwhile said the government is coming up with the new education Act which will also focus on regulation of fee structure in private schools.
“Fee structure will be one chapter of the Act. The issues regarding fee structure in private schools has deliberated upon by the government and SFFC. All the issues related to fee structure will be taken care of once the Act is in public domain,” he said.
When contacted, the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK), G N Itoo said the department has deliberated on all issues related to fee structure in private schools.
“The admission fee, tuition fee and other issues related to private schools will be regulated through a proper way, as per rules,” he said.