Mumbai saw a spate of protests by parent groups on the issues of fee hike by a prominent school chain-- with six schools in Mumbai alone-- and the ban on online classes for primary and preschool children.
Parents have resorted to “protesting online”.
There are many instances in which the parents protested like Vibgyor International where parents protested over the online platform Zoom in connection with the school’s refusal to roll-back the hike in the fees.
There have been other modes of protests like the letter signing campaigns. It has been reported that around 400 parents of the students of Vibgyor International have become signatories to the letter, sent to the management which demands the hike in the fees to be rolled- back.
Parents have justified their ways of protest and campaigning by alleging that the school management has consistently left un-responded the e-mails sent prior by the Executive Parents Teachers Association. The emails, the parents said were in connection with finding a way out by holding discussions. The suggestion for conducting such discussions had come from the state government itself via notification.
The School Education Department of the state has issued a notification, as early as In May, directing the schools to make an exception to the yearly fee-hike custom this academic year. I addition to that, the executive committee of the Parents Teachers Association was asked to do a status-review to see if the school’s fees can be reduced in view of the non-usage of the school’s resources during the lockdown.
Allegedly in defiance of the education department’s instructions, the schools issued a circular addressed to parents that the books for the new session can only be acquired from the school upon showing the fee-payment receipt.
The school denying basic books to children did not go well with the parents and the authorities at all. the Airoli branch of the school was issued a warning by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation in response to the complaints made by the parents in this regard.
The Vibgyor management, meanwhile is not changing its instance by saying that the regulations regarding the fees have long been drafted and the parents had willingly agreed to the stated norms, rules, and regulations. The school is, in essence, alleging opportunism against the parents.
The spokesperson clarified that the school has not stopped imparting education on the grounds of non-payment of fees, but as far as giving the books are concerned, it burdens the school further and the fees asked is justified.
There is an altogether different kind of online protest going on. The parents and teachers who are protesting, in this case, are demanding that the removal of the ban imposed on online education by the governments of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. These states have imposed this ban in varying degrees.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.
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