With ‘Boot Polish’, Parents in Noida Protest School Fee Hike

A group of parents in Greater Noida (West) on Sunday staged a demonstration to protest the “arbitrary” hike in fee of private schools and took to polishing boots on the roadside in a symbolic gesture to highlight inflation.

Among those sitting on the road for polishing boots were parents who are professional chartered accountants, managers and engineers in private firms as they protested the “arbitrariness” of the schools in increasing the fee despite the Fee Regulation Act. The protest comes in the wake of an Uttar Pradesh government order earlier this month that allowed private schools to hike fee.

The protestors said the problems of parents have increased a lot due to inflation and the hike in school fee is a double whammy for them. They held the demonstration from 11 am under the banner of NCR Guardians’ Association and Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (NEFOWA). NCR Parents’ Association President Sukhpal Singh Toor wondered what compelled the government that the “schools succumbed to the mafia”. “When the Uttar Pradesh government had announced before the elections that school fee would not increase this year, then why this order to increase the fee after the elections are over,” Toor said.

NEFOWA president Abhishek Kumar said the “arbitrariness” of schools is not ending. In the COVID-19 pandemic, when the announcement of waiving school fee in private schools was announced in many states, a similar announcement was expected in UP also but nothing like that happened in the state, he said. “Schools collect full fee from parents despite running online classes while the school’s by-laws say ‘no profit, no loss’,” Kumar said. Vikash Katiyar, general secretary of the NCR Parents’ Association, said some schools have increased the fee by adding the “building fee” to the tuition fee.

“The cost of items of daily needs has increased so much in recent times, the entire budget of the common man’s house has gone haywire and the school fee hike will further break his back,” Katiyar said. The protestors claimed that no action has been taken against any schools which have not adhered to laws that mandate such institutes to making public the account of their income and expenditure, sharing the details of the salary given to the teachers, etc. The protestors appealed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to withdraw the order that allowed schools to increase the fee “so that the children should get the right to education in minimum fee”.

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