Published: 11th June 2022
Victory for RTE: This Mumbai school was made to correct its ways due to an RTE activist's intervention
Marol Education Academy's High School & Junior College has been collecting fees from those students who took admission under RTE Act
In what comes as a win for the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a school in Mumbai that was charging admission fees from students admitted under the RTE Act has decided to return the money which was collected from them this academic year plus stop pushing the ones who haven't paid.
What's more? In a week, they decide upon offering free education for all, as is the mandate, to all students who approach them henceforth. This has been possible because the parents of these children sought the help of student activists.
After 14 parents and RTE activist Vijaykumar Kanojia met the Principal of Marol Education Academy's High School & Junior College at noon today, June 11, where the aforementioned assurances were given. They submitted a letter highlighting two demands — returning the money and not asking for any henceforth, which was agreed upon by the school and free education for students under RTE, which is being deliberated upon.
A parent, who wished to remain anonymous, shared that earlier, the school used to collect Rs 5,000-odd, but this year, it shot up to Rs 15,000. The school usually collected the fees for tuition, books, activities and so on.
"Previous years we just managed to pay, but this year the amount was too much. That too they wanted us to pay via blank cheques only in one shot. Due to the pandemic, we have lost earning members of the family, our livelihood and so much more. It's difficult to pay so much," said the parent whose child studies in Class VII of the same school.
Distressed parents approached Vijaykumar Kanojia, RTE and child rights activist who was former District President of NSUI who saw them through this ordeal. The letter to the principal was also penned by Kanojia, who is also the President of the United Student' Association.
"Apart from our two demands, we also implored the Principal to let students continue their education uninterrupted," says Kanojia. He reiterated that the school accepted their first demand and within one week, will get back about the second one. "If they don't get back to us, we will either file an FIR or launch a protest. What the school is doing by collecting fees is in direct violation of the RTE Act.
Kanojia also explained that the reason why the school collected fees was that they weren't receiving any funds from the government. It was he who advised the school to write to relevant authorities like the Minister of Education so that the problem can be solved.
It is not a complete victory for the parents but they are surely headed that way.
Our call to the Principal went unanswered.