Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 'compels' special kids to pay higher fees

Kids with special needs are charged Rs 14,000 a year more than other students

 A parent of a child with disabilities has filed a complaint against Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Mehta Vidyalaya, alleging that the school is charging nearly 35 per cent more fees from children with special needs compared to students studying under the general category.

Meena Singh, whose child is in class 6 at the Kasturba Gandhi Marg school, alleged that the institute increases the overall fees every year by almost 20 to 30 per cent and whenever parents protest, authorities turn a deaf ear.

“I have written several letters to the director of the school requesting him to at least charge school fees at par with other students. But he said that since children are being taught by special educators, the school does not have any other option but to charge more,” she said.

Singh added that according to school authorities there are approximately 90 students with disabilities. All of them are being charged more.

Singh said being a parent of a special child, they have to not only pay higher fees to the school but also pay other private institutions for services like occupational therapy, speech therapy, intelligence quotient (IQ) assessment and others which are not available at the school because of lack of special educators.

She had approached several parents to report the issue to the school authorities but they did not want to come to the forefront. Singh further alleged that there are not enough special educators in the school which is hampering students’ growth.

“I had thought that with time my child will start sitting with his batch mates as now he is being taught in a different classroom by special educators. but it has not happened yet. He has been studying in this school since the beginning,” she said.

Singh has paid a fee of about Rs 49,000 for this year compared to a fee of Rs 35,360 for a student studying under the general category. According to fee statistics submitted in her complaint, Singh has pointed out that in class 2 a fee of Rs 35,300 was paid followed by Rs 44,660 as fees for class 3. When the reporter tried to contact the director of the school, authorities said he was not available for comment as he was out of town.

Singh has submitted her complaint to Ashok Agarwal, advocate and RTE campaigner who describes this issue as arbitrary and illegal as schools are not permitted to charge extra fees from students with special needs. “We will approach the school and if the authorities to do not mend their ways, we will take up the matter in the High Court as a public interest litigation,” he said.

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