School reopening: High fees, forceful purchase of uniforms & textbooks trouble AP parents 

In Andhra Pradesh, schools are set to reopen on June 12, upcoming Monday. But parents are peeved. Here's why  
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

As government and private schools are set to reopen on June 12, parents are busy gathering every penny to pay their children's school fees, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

Accusing private schools of increasing fees by 20 per cent to 40 per cent without any reason, the parents complained that the institutions are forcing them to buy textbooks, notebooks, uniforms, shoes, ties, belts and badges. They held the complacent attitude of the Andhra Pradesh Higher Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (APHERMC) responsible for issues.

According to Government Order (GO) Number 91, issued on August 6, 2009, selling of textbooks, notebooks, stationery, uniforms and shoes on the premises of private schools and colleges violates Section 1(c) of the said government order.

According to the Andhra Pradesh Parents' Association, textbooks in corporate schools cost Rs 8,000 from LKG to Class V and for the students from Class VI to X, it costs about Rs 10,400.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, AP Parents' Association State President S Narahari alleged that none of the government regulations are implemented in private schools.

What is the issue?
"The schools are collecting hefty fees from parents and forcing them to purchase other school essentials. The functioning of the fees regulatory commission appointed by the government is not up to the mark. Even though a new chairman was appointed a year ago, committee members have not been appointed yet. The helpline provided to us is also inactive," he rued.

He further demanded the government set up a strong commission immediately to look into the parents' problems.

Accepting that the commission did not have members, Chairman of APHERMC and retired High Court Judge Justice Ramalingeswara Rao said he had written several letters to the government for the appointment of members, but no concrete action was taken.

He further assured the parents that their complaints regarding school fees will be resolved.

Responding to the allegations, President of AP Private Schools' Association Komaragiri Chandrashekar said special coaching and materials are being provided to the students which are not available in government schools.

He explained that these subjects are crucial for the students as they need to cope with the increasing competition and so parents are not hesitating to pay extra money for their children's better future.

Adding to this the government is providing tabs to Class VIII students with BYJU'S content, if a private school implements the same, the cost has to be borne by the parent itself, he said.

He made it clear that the private schools have to pay 5 per cent to the government for the purchase of textbooks through the school education website and after the generation of the order the rest 95% has to be paid to the stockist.

"When the GO states not to sell books, then how the government instructs the private schools to order textbooks on their website and to pay 5 per cent of its cost," he questioned the parents' association.

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