Alarming School Fee Structures

When a middle class family has issues that demand stress, crowding from all four directions, something that adds on to their list of concerns will certainly be the education of their little ones… So many times we have heard parents saying, “aaj kal bacho ko padhana bhi mushkil ho gaya hai…” which certainly is the sad and a bitter truth.

Education is a pre-requisite to a successful and comfortable life. Leave alone the service sector; today good education has become a must for even the business classes. Every parent wants their child to study in the best school, the best environment and the best conditions. And all of them readily devote more than half of their expenditure on educating their children. This whole process starts when a child is not even two and the pressure on the parents keeps on mounting with every passing year.

But, today, much to our misery, education has become more of a business, where the public schools have literally no higher authority to keep a check on them regarding their inflated and over-priced fee structures. With play school fees starting from an average Rs.400 per month, the figures multiply quickly with every standard that a child passes.

For admissions in the Lower KGs. most of the top schools demand an exorbitant amount which they title as ‘Admission Fee’. And this figure ranges from Rs.30, 000 to Rs. 2,00,000 depending on the level and the stature of the school and of course the city . And this is not the end but just a beginning because then we have monthly fees to be paid and all ‘chote-mote kharche’ that is so common in all private schools.

The question here arises that with the same dreams and aspirations that parents have for their children, can each one of them afford that much? No. There is a choice for them to make. Either they send their child to a not so good school or they tax themselves and get their children admitted into a good school in the city.

Throughout the process ‘Merit’ has hardly any role to play. It’s non-existent. In a few years, the whole picture has changed. When once there were words like ‘Interviews’ and ‘Written tests’ existing in the real sense of the terms, the words still exist but are hardly of any importance. Because the rich ones know… with the ‘Admission fee’ forced into the mouths of the school authorities, their child will certainly get the best.

But we should not forget that the idea of interviews and written tests is not to pressurize the little child but to choose between the bests and the rest because intelligence and talent should not suffer because of economic constraints. But the sad fact is that the middle class always has to step back when standing with the rich.

The need of the hour is to keep a check on the higher authorities of any school. Laws should be made to stop schools from charging those high amounts from its students. A logical question arises – If this is the scenario of education and fee at school level, what would happen when a child reaches higher university education.

I strongly feel that the fee should be subsidized to a level where every family can think of educating their children without a trace of tension in good schools. And not to forget it should be a ‘no burden’ scheme for the parents as well as the children.

Juhi Gupta