Parents of several students studying at various branches of the VIBGYOR Group of Schools across the city took to social media to protest against the institute’s decision to hike the fee for the current academic year. Parents also alleged that the school denied giving them school essentials unless they paid the hiked fees.
A spokesperson from the school said in a written statement, “While the school is imparting online education to all its students irrespective of payment of fees, the school is not in a financial position to provide the study materials without the corresponding payment as the same has to be simultaneously procured by the school against a substantial cost.The school is not forcing, threatening any parent to pay fees, nor showing any bias towards any parent who has not paid fees, and any allegation in this regard is denied in its entirety.”
Schools under the VIBGYOR group had hiked fees by 8-10% for each class in February this year and the hike is effective for the academic year 2020-21. A government resolution released on May 8 stated that schools should stay all fee hikes for the current academic year and have to allow parents to pay fees in instalments. The GR was however stayed by the Bombay High Court on June 26 in response to a petition by several organisations of private school owners.
Parents said that while the hike was imposed in February, they started facing issues in payment due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. “Many parents have lost their jobs and businesses while several others are working with huge pay cuts. At such a point we are only hoping that the school considers our plea on humanitarian grounds,” said the parent of the school’s Goregaon branch.
Parents alleged that they were being denied school essentials and were asked to first get their fee receipts. “We have not heard from the school despite several emails and letters. On the other hand, the school has now started discriminating against students whose parents have refused to pay hiked fees by threatening to remove them from online learning groups and not giving them study material,” said another parent from Navi Mumbai.
At the protest, parents said that they would collectively write to the school and the state education department requesting a hearing on their concerns.