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20 May 2019, Edition - 1406, Monday

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Coimbatore

Hefty donations turn school admissions nightmare for parents

Keerthana Ramesh

Coimbatore: Just over a month left for the academic year to begin, it is a flooding of applications in almost all matriculation as well as central board schools. It is a rat race for the ‘best schools’.

In nearly all private schools admission comes with a hefty fee, making things tough for parents. Many schools run by charity trusts provide some solace as the fee structure is not on the higher side.

According to city-based Student Welfare Association of Parents (SWAP) chairman R Manimohan, donations vary for classes. “Seats in almost all private schools following the state syllabus were already been filled by January and February. A good number of them take more than Rs 1 lakh as donation, all on the basis of the demand of the seat,” he said.

Nida Sree (name changed), the mother of two students in a city school, said she was asked to pay a hefty amount for her second child as well. “Last year I was asked to pay Rs 50,000 for my child who was admitted to Class 5. This year when I took my second child, the school again asked me to pay an amount and provided a discount,” she said. Parents like her believe that these private schools provide better opportunities than several others.

Manimohan too says this is a problem with many of the middle class parents. “Parents can admit their children to schools run by charity trusts where donation is less or even not taken. But a good number of parents want to admit their children to high profile schools,” he added.

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The Covai Post did come across parents who preferred government schools or those run by charity trusts. Selvi Gurumurthi, a housewife in Gandhipuram, admitted her daughter to a government school in Class 2 this year. “My daughter was studying at a private school in Class 1. It was a small private school but charged a high amount. This government school has better facilities, more qualified teachers and provides opportunities for all sorts of extra-curricular activities. Hence I admitted her this year to a government school near my house,” she said.

But school managements claim the fees they charge is fixed by a state level fee determination committee which verifies all their expenses. Their individual expenses, including staff salaries, infrastructure and other aspects are taken into account by the committee which is led by a High Court retired judge before fixing the fees, indicating that complaints of high fees are misplaced.

“The notion that private schools fleece parents is false considering the way they are fixed. The complaint of exorbitant amounts is not true either as only a few high profile schools in the city do so. It is because of the huge demand they have. Hence, parents do have other options. At the same time, parents prefer them because of the quality education they provide. Investment is required to meet those expectations,” said R Vishalakshi, president of a major school management association in the State.

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