Six months into the lockdown, there is another nationwide 'thali bajao' event taking place, this time on Saturday, to espouse the cause of school fees providers. The parents of students of 43 private unaided schools of Mumbai have demanded that schools reduce additional fees, as the latter's expenses have dropped since classes have moved online. Parents say bus fees, library, laboratory, canteen, extra-curricular activities and infrastructure maintenance charges should be reduced or not charged, as these services are not being provided to students in virtual classrooms.
Accordingly, parents and students will stage a 'thali bajao' protest nationwide, on Saturday.
Jayant Jain, president of Forum For Fairness in Education (FFE), a non-governmental organisation, said, "We will stage the protest to draw the attention of the state education department. We urge parents and students of private schools to clang plates in their homes between 7am to 7.05am on October 10."
Jain said, "We have received several complaints from parents who have been served notices by private schools on non-payment of fees. Parents have said their children are not given access to online classes because their fees have not been paid."
Hitesh Mehta, a parent said, "My child is not using facilities such as the canteen, laboratory, library or playground because currently, schools are conducting online classes. Schools should reduce the overall fees and give some relaxation, as most of us have suffered paycuts during the lockdown."
Another parent, requesting anonymity said, "My daughter is studying in Class 7 and my son is in Class 3, in a private unaided school. The school has sent me a notice stating both my children will be debarred from online classes if I do not pay the fees. I am not asking the school to not charge fees but, considering the lockdown and virtual learning, schools should relax the amount to ease the financial burden on parents."