“Have MRP on school-fees”

When there is a maximum retail price on every thing in the market, why not one on school fees, asks a parent.

This is the tale of a father who feels bad that his daughter has to suffer due to the greed of private schools. Let me share how I got involved with the school fee issue; and how it impacts us parents.

My daughter is in the third standard. We were extremely shocked to realise that access to her online classes was blocked by her school on August 5, 2020. She has studied in this school right from Nursery. We soon learnt that many private schools have blocked online education to some kids.

Almost all parents have been paying whatever schools have demanded in various ways. That’s because we wish the best for our kids. Also, all private schools in Bengaluru charge fees in a similar range. So, there is no way out for parents. Some schools have even formed associations to get the maximum out of parents.

COVID, the last straw

The year 2020 brought COVID, resulting in huge losses for my cab business, besides the associated stress. The Karnataka government announced that schools can only charge unhiked tuition fee from parents. One can refer to these three official documents: Circular 32544 dated 24-Apr-2020, another dated 28-Apr-2020 and specific notice C5/Shulka Vasuli/01/2020-21 dated 19-May-2020. There were subsequent circulars reiterating the same; that school can only take un-hiked tuition fee from parents. 

This brought some relief in our minds, and we wrote to my daughter’s school requesting to follow the government’s directives. For third standard, the fee was about Rs 1.5 lakh. We were willing to pay as per the government circular, which would make it about Rs One lakh.

Another point to note is that schools take the fee for the next year in February or March itself, even though the school starts only in May or June. For our son, who is in his 10th standard, we had paid the due amount by March, as classes for 10th started early. For our daughter, school did not start till June 2020, hence we did not pay in advance.

Even when online schooling started, I felt that the school was not providing value for the Rs 1.5 lakh fees. Also, we had to arrange a laptop, a separate space in our 2-BHK and what not. 

COVID-19 has made education technology-centric and the trend seems to be here to stay.. Pic: Studioroman/Canva

We wrote to the school management that we are ready to pay as per the government order and that too, keeping teachers in mind. We did not want any teacher or support staff to lose their job or even take a cut in salaries. The Rs One lakh is by no means less. In fact, some schools started harassing teachers and support staff citing the fee issue and started creating a divide between parents and teachers.

No money, no class

I personally wrote 5-6 times over two months, and the management replied that they are looking into it. To our shock, classes were blocked on 5th August. The management’s message was that parents can do whatever they want but we will not provide education. Many parents came together and even filed a case. Thanks to COVID, the case has not progressed much as of February 21. My daughter online classes are still blocked as on today, 27 February, 2021.

Some of us approached the local MLA for help. He called the school management, but the school management did not heed to this either. 

We approached the education minister a few times and finally had a big meeting on 31 August, 2020. Even the minister and Commissioner of Public Instruction understood the parents’ agony and instructed schools to follow their order. Even then, our school did not pay heed. 

By the beginning of September, we understood that the school is not willing to budge. Hence, some of us enrolled our kids in an alternate online education platform (a homeschooling platform) so that the children do not lose out on learning.

Read more: Access to schooling: Will 2021 further deepen the divide?

By this time, we realised that it is not just some but that thousands of parents are affected. So, we started coming together. Multiple whatsapp, telegram groups were formed and parents started exchanging information. We realised that we need to reach out to more and more parents to make them aware of their rights.

We came to know that many private schools have multiple violations to which even the education department has not given much importance to. The good thing is that some parents started researching and made others aware of their rights.

Finding a voice

We formed the Voice of Parents (VOP) group in late August, 2020. As of today, 5300 parents are part of it. Many parents have been fighting with their respective school management for years and we all started getting connected. I sincerely appreciate some parents who have been torchbearers and provided much needed momentum to this movement. 

VOP held many protests in November and December. Media channels started noticing it and helped spread our concerns. Some parents met the education minister and authorities again in November and December. Some parents were even briefly arrested for protesting peacefully. At last, the government issued another order that private schools should collect only 70% of the tuition fee. Private schools started going to court against this directive. 

Read more: Breaking the school-fee deadlock: A panel discussion

The education sector needs mega reforms, beginning with regulation of fees. When there is an MRP on each and every item, the government must also regulate school fees. If a school is run by a trust, then it should adhere to the cause of the trust that founded it. They should be held accountable for unfair and unethical practices.

VOP is now a movement. It is ready to talk about education reforms on in the long term. School managements need to understand that they have certain obligations towards society. Some of them make huge profits but do not serve society even as per their own Trust’s objectives. Teachers also need to take a stand. Otherwise, how do we teach our kids integrity, honesty, compassion and such values.

Hoping for better empathy from school managements.

Also Read:

[Disclaimer: This article is a citizen contribution. The views expressed here are those of the individual writer(s) and do not reflect the position of Citizen Matters.]


  1. Ankush Dhar says:

    Shown the mirror for rampant loot by Pvt schools of Bangalore.

  2. Rahul says:

    Really appreciate you. Like you, I am also victim of school behaviour. I echo your thoughts that current session fee is not reflecting the value given. A major reform is needed in this section to control schools.

  3. Navaneethan says:

    “The education sector needs mega reforms, beginning with regulation of fees. When there is an MRP on each and every item, the government must also regulate school fees.”

    I can appreciate your frustrations – the school certainly seems unresponsive to your sincere and earnest requests.

    However, I don’t see how this is a reasonable conclusion to draw – perhaps in the circumstances, some regulation is needed, but should it go any farther? Should the Government also regulate your salary? Since there is an MRP on each and every item, maybe there should be one on your salary as well?

    Also, while it’s not easy to shift someone’s school, why not move your daughter to another school? Or consider a government school – those should have regulated fees, right?

    I think this assumption that the government should intervene in every facet of our lives is misguided.

    • MJ says:

      You have not understood the issue in the first place nor the regulations governing Educational Institutions. You pay taxes on your income , TDS deducted and your returns are fully processed and verified. Educational Institutions are registered as trusts but are actually corporates , make huge surpluses from exorbitant fees and evade taxes citing expansion plans future investments etc and also divert funds to their other businesses. There is massive corruption, and connivance in Education Departments too not auditing them. Schools are not following the rules set by State Education Departments based on which NOC, License and Recognition is given.

  4. Navaneethan says:

    That’s a very interesting perspective, I will definitely read more about this. It’s sad (but not surprising) that many educational institutions do this. Wish there was better regulation for existing laws.

    However, this doesn’t get at the question of why MRP is necessary. And if MRP is a solution to this problem, why not use it for other things like salaries?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Mount Carmel College turns co-ed: Students allege mismanagement

Students say they learnt about the decision of the college on social media. The management says campus safety won't be impacted.

The theme for Mount Carmel College's Platinum Jubilee last year was ‘Herstory'. However, starting from this academic year, the college will not entirely be 'hers' since Mount Carmel, which has been a women's college for 75 years, has opened admissions to boys. Dr. Lekha George, principal of Mount Carmel College, says this decision was not taken overnight. "It was in discussion for a few years and the management took a call to start it this year." Mismanaged communication The students have expressed disappointment over the way the announcement was made. “It was posted on social media, even before we, the…

Similar Story

Mathru school transforms lives of special needs children in Bengaluru 

Mukhta Gubbi, founder of Mathru Educational Trust, focuses on the holistic development of students while easing parents' burden.

Mathru Educational Trust for the Blind and Other Disabled, established on January 15, 2001 by Muktha Gubbi, emerged at a time when her life was marked by various challenges that almost led her to despair. She met with a freak accident, in which she lost half of one foot and a close relationship ended, thereafter.  Witnessing a young mother struggling to take care of her blind toddler inspired Muktha to start the Mathru Residential School for the Blind in her time of adversity. Since its inception, the school has empowered countless visually impaired students, who have meritoriously passed out of Mathru school. Mathru now…