The parents of students attending Vibgyor High School at Goregaon, Malad, Airoli and other branches have demanded that the school management roll back its fee hike in view of the financial crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, they are still wondering whether they should pay the increased fees or wait for the court to hear the matter after six weeks, as the Bombay High Court (HC) on June 26 had directed a temporary stay on the Maharashtra government resolution (GR) dated May 8, instructing schools not to hike fees for the academic year.
On the one hand, parents claim they cannot pay the increased fees because they have been enduring salary cuts, while on the other, the school management claims they have heavily invested in digital paraphernalia with which they wish to continue, through blended learning.
Parents revealed the school sent a circular, a copy of which is with The Free Press Journal, dated June 11, 2020, stating, "Parents will be requested to provide the fee receipt for AY 2020-21 (if available) while they pick up the curriculum material from the school." This curriculum material includes classwork sheets and homework sheets.
The parent of a student at Vibgyor High School, Airoli, said, "We have to pay the instalment of fees on July 1. I have been only getting 30 per cent of my salary for the last three months. I am unable to pay this high instalment amount. But as per the circular, will my child not be provided the study material if I do not pay the instalment?"
The spokesperson for VIBGYOR Group of Schools, said, "While the school is imparting online education through its Virtual Learning Sessions (VLS) to all its students irrespective of payment of fees, the school is clearly not in a financial/commercial position to provide the study materials without the corresponding payment, as the same has to be procured by the school against a substantial cost."
Parents claim news of the fee hike of 8-13 per cent per grade, was conveyed to the executive parent-teacher association (EPTA) in February. The parent of a student from Vibgyor High School, Goregaon, said, "We were informed about the fee hike in February but at that time, the Covid-19 pandemic had not hit Mumbai. But now, some parents are facing monetary losses in businesses while others are witnessing salary cuts or losing jobs. We are not saying the school should not charge fees at all. But we just want the school to consider the plight of parents and roll back the fee hike, taking into account the damage caused by the pandemic."
The spokesperson stated, "The school has already provided relaxation to the parents by giving flexibility to pay with multiple revisions to the dates from the original timeline for payment of early April. To ease the financial issue for all parents, we further introduced the option of a monthly payment with no extra charge and we also rolled out "VIBGYOR Edubridge Scholarship Programme" and waivers for parents whose earnings have been impacted by the pandemic. We have been requesting all parents who have been financially affected to apply for this."