Published: 25th July 2018
SSM School row: Correspondent allegedly abuses kids over PA system, tells them to study in Govt School if they can't pay
The government has issued a warning to private schools affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards against charging excessive fees, threatens imprisonment and derecognition of the school
The Tamil Nadu State government has issued a stern warning to CBSE and ICSE affiliated schools that seeking exorbitant fees could lead to imprisonment and also derecognition of the school. This warning was issued in response to the recent protests by parents against Srimathi Sundaravalli Memorial (SSM) School's demand of Rs 2 lakh as a caution deposit.
According to an article in Deccan Chronicle, the Director of School Education had said in a circular, "It must be kept in mind that the schools are established by non-profit entities such as societies/trusts/companies mandated by the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulations) Act and they owe their duty and social responsibility to the public. In other words, commercialization of education is against the basic tenets of charitable institutes."
If any school is seen violating the fee structure fixed by the education committee, the Chief Educational Officers have been directed to initiate action against the school concerned under section 9 (i) of the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009. The Act states that the guilty would be given an imprisonment sentence for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 on conviction. Section 9 (2) of the Act also envisages that the person convicted shall refund to the people from whom the excess fee was collected in contravention of the Act.
The education department has also directed schools to decide their fee structure by August 15 and display the fees on the notice board, so that the fee committee can verify and approve it. If in case the school is overcharging, the education committee has also urged the Chief Education Officers to derecognise the school.
School responds by allegedly threatening students
When the education department had tried to convince the school to withdraw their circular, they had refused, claiming that the school was affiliated to CBSE. Adding to the controversy, the School Correspondent K Santhanam has allegedly spoken in a threatening manner to the students. According to a Facebook post in the Chennai SSM School - Parents Collective page, Santhanam spoke to all the students through a central audio system and said the following things -1. Do your parents think 'I am a beggar'? I can sell the school to anyone tomorrow for 700 crores.
2. If you cannot pay the fees, who asked you to study here? Go to a government school or anywhere else
3. If you don't bring the acknowledgment for caution deposit tomorrow, I will sell the school to someone else. Today would be the last speech of mine.
4. Your parents assembled in Pallavaram Cantonment park against caution deposit. Are they fools?
5. Few miscreants assembled from SSM Nagar in front the of school. Why did your parents join them?
6. If your parents don't give you the acknowledgment of caution deposit, just tear it and throw it on their face.
The parents say that many of the students were very upset after this speech and came back home crying. "If there is a problem, they should call us. Why are they tormenting our children? How can we think of sending them to school tomorrow?" the parents questioned.
When we contacted the Correspondent's office, they had asked for a mail to be sent with our queries. A mail sent to the school management elicited no response.