Private Schools : The Soulless Barnacles of our Education System
| Susmita Saurav, IOP Correspondent - 28 Jun 2021

By SUSMITA SAURAV 

New Delhi,

The remorseless attitude of Private Schools has come to light as they have opted to run on commercial lines even as citizens suffer the brutal onslaught of the Covid19 pandemic. Parents from the lower-middle-class section who constitute the low-income groups of society are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to pay the monthly fees of private schools in Delhi. Some parents are even forced to enroll their children in government schools.

 

Following Delhi High Court's order dated 31st May 2021, private schools may charge last academic year's annual charges and development fee retrospectively. However, a 15 percent reduction is ordered to the total fees, considering the facilities not used by students in the lockdown period. In another order on the same day, the court also ruled that schools may charge the whole fee, including tuition fee and other charges, for the academic year 2021-22.

 

This judgement by Delhi High Court can only be justified when we consider how the Low-cost private schools are struggling to survive in a pandemic, as parents keep defaulting on fee payment. Many such schools are bound to shut down in the lockdown. But the larger picture the private schools, especially the better-off ones, are putting up before the society is that of a thick-skinned monster devoid of goodwill or sympathy.

 

Delhi Government has rightfully challenged the Delhi HC orders citing acute financial pressure on parents due to the ongoing pandemic. Quoting the right to education, the Delhi Government has also asked private schools to extend maximum support to every child and parent facing these testing times.

 

There are numerous reported incidents where the brutality of private schools has caused great anguish to parents and children in general. A parent in Delhi recalled how at the time when his 75-year-old father was tested Covid positive and admitted to a hospital in Dwarka, he had also lost his job. The school authorities debarred his two daughters from attending online classes. Despite his consistent prayers to buy himself some time to pay the fees, the school authorities stayed adamant in their decision. This parent had to borrow money to pay school fees to continue the education of his daughters.

Another lady who was stuck in Bihar following the first lockdown narrated how the non-payment of annual fees on time, caused her kids to be held back from attending online classes until the fees were fully paid.

 

Many other parents whose kids are enrolled in DPS Dwarka also narrated similar incidents of the school's intolerant stance in the face of the universal disaster.

 

Even in the lockdown period, DPS Dwarka has managed to undergo massive construction at its premises to accommodate new entrants. Nevertheless, the developmental expenses shall readily be passed on to the new and existing students in their fees and annual charges. The school intends a hike in school fees in near future, although fewer students have been attending the online classes. Reportedly, out of 70 enrolled students in each class, only about 40 students are attending. Besides, the standards of ongoing online classes are highly questionable, as it is a common phenomenon in schools. The fewer attendance of students can be attributed to the fact that many students' online accounts have been blocked due to non-payment of fees in time. The school's barbarity can be witnessed when they don't care to respond to emails or phone calls of the distressed parents, sending them a subtle message that fees payment alone could solve all their problems. This is not only causing mental trauma to the students, it is also making them increasingly aware of the callous and rigid side of human nature.

 

In the face of such monstrosity displayed by the private schools, our education system as a whole is at great risk to fall into the deep abyss of chaos and ignorance. We must place a much-needed speed bump to the dauntless attitude of these education sector sharks, to check this trend at its earliest.

Following is the glimpse of the fee structure of DPS Dwarka school. Have a look and analyze to which dangerous and unknown destination our education system is being driven. 

Image courtesy – DPS Dwarka – File images - Just representational. 


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