Fee woes: Parents turn to KSCPCR after schools prevents students from appearing for exams

The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has received around 25 complaints against private school managements who are allegedly not allowing students to sit for online examinations as their parents have not paid the fees in full for the 2020-21 academic year. Fr. Antony Sebastian, Chairperson of the Commission, said that a majority of complaints were against private schools in Bengaluru.

The number, however, is not a reflection of how pervasive the problem is, as a majority of parents are wary of lodging complaints against school managements for fear of exacerbating the problem, said members of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA).

“Many parents are not willing to come forward to lodge complaints against schools as they do not want their children to be reprimanded or targeted in the classroom,” said Rudresh S., who is the president of a PTA in south Bengaluru.

According to Fr. Sebastian, KSCPCR has issued summons to those school managements against whom complaints have been registered to resolve the issue. “Once we call them for a hearing, parents and school managements can agree to an amicable resolution. Our aim is to ensure that students’ academics are not affected,” he said.

Complaints are closed after school managements give an undertaking that they will allow students to appear for examinations.

A parent, who had complained to the Commission, said that her daughter, who is in class five in a school affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, had not been allowed to appear for the online examinations that began in the last week of March. “But after we complained to the Commission, the school allowed not only my daughter to appear for the examinations, but 20 other students whose parents had not paid the entire fees,” she said.

A majority of the complaints received by the Commission were from parents who had already paid 70% of the tuition fees for the 2020-21 academic year.

This is not the first time that private schools have been accused of resorting to such tactics to get parents to pay up. Earlier in the year, the Commission had received complaints that schools were blocking online classes for students who had not paid the fees.

While parents are happy with the Commission’s intervention, many school managements told The Hindu that they need the money to bear recurring costs. A school management member, against whom a complaint had been lodged, said, “We allowed students to appear for the examinations because we want to avoid legal hassles. Parents should understand that we are private entities and cannot sustain if they do not pay the fees in full.”

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