After failing to control abnormal increase in admission and monthly fees of major schools in Dhaka and Chittagong, the concerned administration is now looking to the High Court which had earlier forced 10 educational institutions to cut down their fees. Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), which had earlier submitted the writ petition, are now planning to bring the issue to the HC’s notice again. The organizations are also planning to sue for defamation of the court.
The bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed had published the full verdict on 6 December, 2015.
According to the full text of the verdict, educational institutions must follow the government’s policy in students’ admission process.
The verdict directed the education ministry to come down hard on educational institutions that will not follow the guidelines.
Under the guidelines, the government had fixed the admission fees at the institutions in Dhaka, other cities, and municipal areas.
Some educational institutions this year increased monthly fees more in comparison to admission fees while others hiked up one-time admission fees keeping monthly fees the same.
According to the policy, the English schools inside metropolitan areas can charge highest Tk 10,000 in admission and session fees while the amounts will be not more than Tk 8,000 for Bangla medium schools. However, most of the schools have increased their admission and monthly fees around 40 per cent to 100 per cent this year.
Executive director of Campaign for Popular Education Rasheda K Choudhury told that, we have no other alternative but to go to the court again. Increasing fees two to three times in the name of national pay scale implementation is just an excuse.” An education ministry official said that they believe they can backtrack on the trend of increasing fees if anyone files complaint with the court. The parents of the students took to the streets protesting the fees hike and also hold press conference. However, the education ministry and directorate of secondary and higher education have not taken any visible steps till now.
The education ministry is not satisfied with the argument that fees have to be raised to increase the salary of the teachers. A number of ministry officials seeking anonymity said government pays the salary of the teachers of the MPO listed schools. The teachers also get a part of the festival bonus, house rent and medical allowance from the government. They also get other allowance from the school income, which is in some case more than the teachers of the government schools.
According to a number of schools, the salary of the private school teachers doubled according to the new national pay scale, and they are demanding some other facilities according to their basic salary. But they are not willing to adjust the advantages they use to get earlier.
The director general of the directorate of secondary and higher education professor Fahima Khatun said the allowances of the government employees were adjusted after the national pay scale came into effect. The allowances of the teachers should also be adjusted. But some schools are giving extra facilities to the teachers as they earn more than other schools. They can take it, but that does not mean they will torture the students this way. She said, the education ministry has been asked what to do about the unusual fees hike by two big schools of Dhaka.
Guardian unity forum president Ziaul Kabir said, many schools did not raise the admission fees but raised the monthly fees using loopholes in the law, which is unlawful and unethical. Session charges, monthly fees, and development fees had been mentioned together in the court order and in the admission policy of the ministry. He said, it is necessary to specify the monthly fees, and policy should be there saying how much one can increase.
The guardians of Willes Little Flower School and College will hold a sit-in indefinitely in front of the institution from Sunday. The guardians of Viqarunnisa Noon School & College will present a memorandum to the governing body president of the school and also civil aviation and tourism minister Rashed Khan Menon.
Till now, schools in Dhaka like Motijheel Ideal School, Udayan School, Mohammadpur Preparatory School, Shaheed Police Smiti School in Mirpur, Shaheed Anwar Girls College, Bangladesh Bank Ideal High School and some other schools have raised their fees from 40 to 100 per cent. The fees of class II of Birsreshtha Nur Muhammad School was Tk 950 last year and is Tk 1,800 this year. Shaheed Anwar Girls College in their notice on 5 January said the fees has been increased to pay the salary of the school teachers and employees according to the national pay scale and to continue the other development work of the school. The admission fees and monthly fees of Mirpur Cantonment Public School, National Ideal School, Siddheshwari Girls’ High School, Junior Laboratory school and also some other schools have also been increased. The guardians of 46 schools under Chittagong City Corporation and also of the Navy School and College in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) are holding protest programmes against the fees hike.