Playschool chain fails to reopen after vacation; parents in a fix

Branches in city had closed early for Christmas holidays

Playschool chain fails to reopen after vacation; parents in a fix

The unexplained closing of several branches of the TreeHouse playschool chain in the city has left parents in a fix, with three months to go this academic year.

The playgroup, headquartered in Mumbai, has 18 branches in the city, according to its website. In December, several branches closed early for the Christmas vacation without any explanation, arousing the suspicion of parents.

When the school did not open on Monday, parents of the Sanjaynagar branch gathered outside the school premises to demand an explanation. The nursery, LKG and UKG classes here have a total strength of 53 students. “When I went to pay the fee in December, they did not accept my cheque. On December 19, they closed the school saying that it would reopen on January 2, 2017,” said Guruprasad, whose three-year-old daughter is enrolled in nursery.

The school had not been functioning regularly since October 2016, with teachers not paid their salaries, he said. Even the building rent has not been paid for several months. Suspecting something amiss when the vacation started early, parents filed a complaint with the Sanjaynagar police.

Similarly, the TreeHouse centre in BTM Layout which has 120 students, also closed on December 19. The parents approached MICO Layout police.

One of the parents told DH that when the Mico Layout police contacted Rajeev Bhatia, MD, TreeHouse, he had said that the school would not shut down and that they would notify parents if they decided to.

Most parents have paid the fee in a single instalment of Rs 30,000. “We don’t care about the money. Halfway through the year, no school is going to give my son admission. The school did not respond when we asked for a transfer certificate. I may have to quit my job if they do not reopen,” said Priyanka Biradar, whose son is in LKG in Sanjaynagar branch.

With no official confirmation of the school closing down, parents are concerned about their children’s future and are demanding that the centres remain open till March at least. On Monday, parents of the BTM Layout centre held a meeting with representatives of the playgroup. They paid salaries to the staff and assured the parents that they would reopen on Tuesday.

“They are assuring us verbally that the school will open but how can we trust them? They tell us a different story each time and no one from the head office has directly approached us yet,” Biradar added.

In a similar situation, the nationwide playgorup had closed several centres in Mumbai and Pune with no prior information, leaving parents and students in a quandary.

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