The cute kid Hani, who is studying in the pre primary class in a private school when entered the house while returning from the school saw her father and announced in a low and trembling voice papa ‘garmiyoon ki chutyaan chaar tareekh say ho gayi’….. Summer vacation will be on w.e.f. 4th. She further stammered ‘teacher fee mang rhi thi…..’. The teacher was asking for the fee while handing a paper in the hands of father.
The father opened the leaflet, where letters were peeping out urging him to pay the child's June-July fees immediately, as well as homework charges for the summer holidays. It may be noted that summer/winter vacations in schools are usual in June-July and January-February. However, private educational institutions do not announce holidays until a fee is collected from the students. Whether the Government announces or issues a warning, whether the summer/winter is at peak or hardly matters students are sweating or bathing with sweat in summers or shivering in winters the management of most of the private schools have no concern with it, what matters for them is the fee. But wait, don't get emotional. Some facts need to be realized before moving on.
The purpose of most of the private educational institutions, one can easily estimate even 99.99% of them is trade. Here everything is done on business principles. Every child studying here is seen as a customer. If the customer does not pay the full amount, what will the investor do? How will salaries, building rent and other expenses be met?
Although most educational institutions work on business principles, it should be borne in mind that not every trader is dishonest or in other words not every trader is honest.
Education is primarily the responsibility of the government, but due to varied reasons the Government Schools especially in remote and rural areas and even in some cities/towns (where schools are functioning from rented accommodations) fail to deliver to the best satisfaction to the students as per the need of present times. Therefore, the existence of private educational institutions is no less than a blessing for the budding youths of the nation.
The importance and status of private educational institutions in the field of education is obvious. However, in some cases, especially during the summer or winter holidays, the private educational institutions and the government are not on the same page. Even in the scorching heat or shivering cold the students of private educational institutions go to school. Most parents go out for holidays only once or twice in a year but when their kids are in private school they are doubly worried about whether to plan an outing or not because of the lack of timely holidays of their kids.
In our view, the non-announcement of vacations on time by private educational institutions is only related to the collection of fees. However, they argue that the purpose of reducing vacations is to ensure timely completion of syllabus. But this argument does not carry much weight, because effective planning can solve the issue of completion of the curriculum. As far as the collection of fees is concerned, it is not acceptable to collect fee in one go for two to three months or of holidays, because neither children are going anywhere nor parents. Fees can be collected even after vacations; it is not a difficult task.
It is also wrong to take money from children in the name of holiday work/printing charges. No doubt teachers spend a lot of time preparing their homework, after all they are meant for that and are being paid monthly, whereas in some educational institutions this homework is assigned only on some printed papers which does not cost lot of money, but it is cruel to charge a hefty fee from the parents in return for this small amount. It is very polite and justifiable to call it as extortion.
In short, private educational institutions should announce holidays in time as per the notification issued by the Government. Do not be so cruel to charge fee for summer/winter homework from students. Also avoid charging monthly fees in advance or at a one go. Consider students as your own kids. Understand the compulsions of the parents and by doing that the society and nation will flourish.
(The Author is Associate Professor at Govt. Degree College Chatroo and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)