Bhubaneswar: A hunger strike was organised Tuesday at the Heads of Department building in the state capital to press for demands for ceiling private schools fees and also to ensure their monitoring.
The agitation was spearheaded by the Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangha who launched the indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday as no steps were allegedly taken against their demand to regulate the fee structures of private schools on basis of the recommendations of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The organisation and participating members claimed the protest would continue till their demands are met.
Prasanna Bisoyi, Co-Chairman of the organization said, “We had decided to sit on this hunger strike till our demands are fulfilled. We had earlier urged the state government to implement a law to regulate school fees for private schools but no one listened to our appeals.”
He also added that due to this delay many private institutions had been increasing their fees at random. It is a a gross violation of the Supreme Court recommendations which allows 15 per cent hike every year in the school fees. This has been allegedly creating a lot of problem for the middle class families, he said.
Several aggrieved parents also took part in the event wanted to share their woes. The parents who were also present there in the strike demanded to implement proper ceiling of school fees for all classes — from LKG to Standard X — to maintain uniformity in fees structures.
The protesters claimed that the Odisha government had constituted an eight- member fees regulatory committee on March 29, 2018 under the chairmanship of the director, Secondary Education Odisha. The committee was given the responsibility to finalise the fee structure mechanism and regulate its implementation in Odisha. The panel’s recommendations, which were decided in the meeting on August 16, 2018, is yet to receive approval.
“The admission process for the academic year 2019-20 has already started. So, the fees that is already deposited in 2018-19 would be rendered invalid if admission process is completed,” the memorandum of the protesters to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.