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Afternoon Despatch and Courier 2017-11-10 00:00:00

SSC schools reportedly over-charging students for examination forms, Board assures grievances with proof shall be addressed

Various schools across the city that fall under the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Education have been accused of allegedly charging their students over and above the examination fee for forms set by the SSC Board.

Rajesh Pandya, Vice-President, Teachers Democratic Front spoke out against this alleged practice, requesting the board to make the fees for the forms public so that the students know not to pay a penny more. "The fees for the examination forms from what I know is Rs 375. However, there are many schools across the city that are charging more than double that fee, with some even charging Rs 1,000."

Pandya feels that schools find a way to exploit students by adding various add-on charges to the form fees. "Students are made to contribute for school building funds and schools find plenty of ways to extract more money. All schools should follow a uniform fee pattern and stick to that. Some even pick out minor errors made by students and make them buy the form again and fill it again," he added.

The TDF Vice-President also feels that there must be a speedy student grievance redressal system in place in order to give justice to students who have been overcharged. "The board should come up with a website or a helpline number to help such students. Many of them come from poor financial backgrounds and it is unethical to exploit them. Students must also make sure they take a receipt from schools as proof that they are being charged more and the Board must put up a notice stating the actual fee of the forms," he gushed.  

Deven Shukla, a teacher at a school in Malad denied that the school is charging a different rate. "We charge Rs 500 for the form and that is the correct rate as per my knowledge. Many schools charge different fees that are much higher but we charge the lowest in Madad," he said.

C Y Chandekar, Secretary, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education conceded that the fee for the forms is Rs 375. "Yes it is right that the fee for the forms is Rs 375 and any student who is being charged more by his or her school can come to us with proof and we shall address the situation," he said.

Speaking about an online redressal system, he added, "The issue with going online is that schools shall deny over-charging the student. If the student brings proof of the receipt of the form that he or she paid for, we can take action."