Don't indulge in malpractices, Mamata warns pvt schools
In a much-awaited step, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday pulled up officials of several private schools in the city at a meeting held at the Town Hall over arbitrary fee hike.
At Wednesday's meeting, the Chief Minister made it clear that in Bengal, education is of utmost importance. Banerjee expressed her happiness over several students making the state proud by scoring high marks in several Board examinations.
However, she also voiced her displeasure over the ever-increasing fee structure of private schools along with the malpractice of asking for huge amount of money as donations during admissions. Thus, Banerjee instructed the formation of a self-regulatory committee with representation from some top private schools of the city along with the School Education Department Secretary, Director General of Police and the Commissioner of Police to monitor various aspects related to the schools including fee hike and donation issues.
During her meeting with the senior officials of various private schools at the Town Hall, the Chief Minister sent out a clear message that the state government would not allow any malpractice in the functioning of private schools. She pointed out that some private schools are taking a huge amount of money from candidates as a donation which she termed "unethical".
Banerjee was also quick to add that by talking about donation rackets, she was not trying to target the private school authorities. She explained that some touts might be operating a racket and demanding huge amounts from people for getting their children admitted to top private schools in the city.
"There must be transparency in the process. The private schools must consider on humanitarian grounds how parents can meet the challenge of an arbitrary increase in the tuition fees every year. People are complaining that it becomes difficult for them to pay the increasing tuition fees," Banerjee maintained.
She also urged the private school authorities to revise the fee structure as it often becomes difficult for the people to cough up the ever-increasing tuition fees. She said that on several occasions, money under various heads is collected from students in the name of computer classes, summer camps and others.
She asked a senior official of La Martiniere School Kolkata whether they were taking donations from students. The official answered in the negative. However, Banerjee said that she had received information that the school takes Rs 2.47 lakh as admission fee from a candidate. Responding to the query of the Chief Minister, the official said that the tuition fee had seen a hike of 11.9 percent which the CM termed "pretty high". He also told the Chief Minister that in 2016-17, the tuition fee was Rs 5,883 per month while in 2017-18, the figure has increased to Rs 6,583.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also requested various other prominent private schools like The Heritage School, Delhi Public School group, South Point School, St Xavier's Collegiate School, Shri Shikshayatan School and others to look into their fee structures.
In the meeting, Banerjee made it clear that Bengali must be taught among the three languages up to the level of Class X in all schools. It does not matter if a school teaches Bengali as the third language but it must be there in the curricula.
To this, an official of a private school pointed out a technical problem in making Bengali compulsory when it comes to Board examinations. Offering a solution to this, Banerjee said: "Do not include Bengali in the Board examination. But make it compulsory in the school examination."
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