Hyderabad: In Oakridge International School, even nursery level fees cost a bomb. The school is charging Rs 88,000 as tuition fees for Nursery class for the academic year 2018-2019. The school has increased the fees from Rs 84,100 in 2017-2018 to `88,000 for the academic year 2018-2019. Fees for all grades from Nursery to IB Diploma programme have been increased. In addition, there are charges for food and transport. There is also an activity fee, development fee, extra curriculum fee, sport fee, and admin fee!
The transport fee for nursery class is Rs 16,800 per term and Rs 11,400 for lunch. A city parent said, “Oakridge International School started the highly negative trend of very high base school fees and then high fee hikes. All other schools started comparing their own fees to the ones charged by Oakridge and started increasing their fees. Thus, more and more schools tried to follow Oakridge and joined the trend of abnormal fee hikes. Looking at these schools, those in the next fee range (lower than these) also started increasing their fees.”
The parent said that if parents protested, their children were harassed. “Some schools gave TC while some punished the kids. Some withheld report cards and promotion to the next class. So much so that hardly anyone us are willing to speak on record,” the parent added. Vivek Singh of the Hyderabad School Parents Associations told this newspaper, “From this academic year, Oakridge stopped Rs 2 lakh admission fee but added it to the tuition fee so that parents pay it every year. They charge fees based on year of intake so a child who joined three to four years earlier may be paying half of what a student admitted this year would pay. This is illegal.
You can't charge different fees for the same services. Earlier the fee was Rs 3 lakh per annum for IBDP programme but, this year it has been increased to Rs 3,08,200.” Shashank Tyagi, a city parent, told the newspaper, “Primary education has become too costly now in India. What I am paying now for my kid every year is almost the same my parents spent for my whole matriculation.” The Oakridge school authorities are yet to comment on the same.
Keep quite or your kid is expelled
Apart from the exorbitant fee hikes, some city schools are making parents sign an agreement before their children are admitted, stating that they will neither use social media or raise their voice or participate in any protest. against fee hikes. If parents participate in protests then their children will be expelled from the school.
One such agreement parents were required to sign reads: “We understand and accept that our child may be expelled from the school if management determines that any one (parents) of us has engaged in one or more of the following — participated in any dharnas, morchas, any communication whether in form of mails or SMS, initiated or participated in the filing of any frivolous complaints against the school, its management and any of the staff member, causing to be published or telecast in any form of electronic media/paper media anything that tarnishes the image or reputation of the school. Parents should also not shout any slogans against the management.”
Hridesh Gupta, general secretary, Hyderabad School Parents Association told this newspaper, “On one side, parents are paying huge fee towards primary education to these private schools and other side, the school wants parents to be in its control. Many schools are asking parents to sign such agreement so that they can’t raise their voice publicly. Why schools have such fear when they are doing everything as per law? But actually they are not, that is why they want parents not to raise their voice against their unethical business.”...