Students of St Joseph’s High School have very little to cheer about. After being denied report cards over non-payment of fees, five students from Std IX were made to sit outside their classrooms yesterday after they failed to make the payment of Rs 1,500 to school authorities. However, the school’s principal Sister Lovena rubbished these allegations.
MiD DAY had earlier reported ‘School refuses report cards for non-payment of fee’ on April 8. After the report, the school accepted that it has been collecting extra fees from students as the government has not given them the non-salary grant amount for maintenance for the past nine years.
Mohammed Ahir Ansari, parent of a girl who was made to sit outside her classroom, said, “The school is traumatising students who have not paid extra fees by embarrassing them in front of their classmates. On one hand they are extorting money from students, which is not allowed, and on the other hand they punish them.”
When this correspondent called Agripada police station, a deputy officer on condition of anonymity, said, “Our officers went to the school to enquire about the situation. The principal claimed that they were sitting outside on their own.” No complaint was registered against the school principal. Ansari Sajjad, another parent, said, “The class teacher asked us to bring the report cards from the principal after paying the sum of Rs 1,500 and only then will the students be allowed back in class.”
Jayant Jain, president of Forum For Fairness in Education, said, “We will approach the magistrate and get required permissions to file a police complaint against the school for demanding extra money. I guess the principal is not aware that under sections 7 (A) and 7 (AA) of the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act 1987, asking for extra money is a non-cognisable offense. It could amount to two years of jail term if proven.”
The Other Side
Sister Lovena said, “The police came and shooed away the parents from my office.” She added that the government has not given the requisite grant to the school for over nine years. “Parents have come together and said they will collect money to help the school. Around 95 per cent of parents have already paid the extra fee, only a few of them are against it. How do we print the report cards when there is no money?”