Shakir Ahmed (pseudonym) admitted his daughter in Class I at Viqarunnisa Noon School & College in 2022. During the admission process, he had to pay gas, water, generator and legal fees and advice. The school also charged tutor software fee, lab fee, milad and puja fee.
“Some of the fees are just plain absurd,” Shakir said. “My daughter can’t use a computer yet, but I had to pay for software and lab fees. Also, why should I pay for DFO [monthly pay order] school legal fees, as the government is responsible for them. »
Another tutor, Kamrul Hasan, admitted his son into the KG discipline at Willes Little Flower School and College this year. He says that the child does not need to imbibe learning based on information and communication technologies at the moment. But the school nevertheless charges ICT fees from students in the KG discipline.
These are two examples of reputable schools in Dhaka charging different fees, such as SMS fees, computer lab fees and teacher welfare fund fees, to students whom their tutors find “ridiculous”.
Reputable schools charging this fee include South Point School and College, Ideal School and College, Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Monipur High School and College and Mirpur Girls’ Ideal Laboratory Institute.
For example, Viqarunnisa Noon School & College charges Tk 1,400 tuition fee per month, while Viqarunnisa students have to pay Tk 200 gas and water fee, Tk 500 generator fee, Tk 100 legal fee and consultancy and Tk 300 software fee twice a year.
The institution charges Tk 3,000 annually as session fees, Tk 1,500 as development fees, Tk 200 for games and annual sports competitions, Tk 250 for magazine and Tk 150 for occasions such as milad and puja.
Willes Little Flower School and College takes tuition fees through mobile banking and does not show fees separately. But in January this year, the institution provided tuition documents to tutors, which show that the school charges ICT fees even to kindergarten students.
Monipur High School and College also takes fees through mobile banking but does not show the fees separately.
The Biam Lab School charges each student an SMS fee of Tk 700, a computer lab fee of Tk 100 and a welfare fund fee for teachers and staff of Tk 100.
Kamrun Nahar, principal of the school, told The Business Standard that the institution charges less than other well-known institutions.
Viqarunnisa Noon School & College has four campuses and approximately 27,000 students.
About the gasoline charge, the director said: “I don’t make the decision alone, it’s rather the school committee that decides everything.”
Education Minister Dipu Moni told TBS that educational institutions have been asked not to charge unnecessary fees in the name of running costs.
“We will take action against institutions that overcharge. In fact, we have already forced some institutions to refund unnecessary fees they collected earlier from students,” she said.
No salary, no admission card
Rumen Mridha, a businessman from the Eskaton Garden area of Dhaka, told TBS that he faced a drastic reduction in his income during the pandemic. But the school fees for her two children have almost doubled in the meantime.
Biam Lab School charges Rumen Mridha Tk700 annually as SMS fee for his kindergarten child.
“The school was supposed to reduce fees and remove unnecessary fees given our pandemic-affected income. But it is not. Unfortunately, my child did not get the admission card to the examination until I have paid all fees,” he said.
Nazim Uddin, a privately employed tutor, told TBS that he has to pay all the extra fees imposed by the high schools and colleges in Monipur on the students.
“They [schools] just don’t care what we say about tuition increases,” he added.
Allegations Against Teachers Galore
The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education recently received allegations against ten principals of public secondary schools. The allegations include embezzlement of school funds, academic irregularities and dating scams.
According to the allegations made before the management, the principal of Dhanmondi government high school, Abu Sayeed Bhuiyan, bought an apartment with the money from the school fund and spent the school money for other personal purposes. . To cover these personal expenses, he began charging fees for pattern testing and milad to students.
However, speaking to TBS, the director dismissed the allegations.
Belal Hossain, director (schools) of the directorate, said authorities had received the allegations from the guardians and were now looking into the matter.
On June 4 this year, the board of directors of Dhanmondi Ideal College suspended its principal and two other teachers for their alleged involvement in various irregularities and controversial activities.
In 2020, the Principal of Viqarunnisa, Professor Fouzia Rezwan, was appointed as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) under the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education. This decision was taken after allegations of irregularities regarding the appointment of an administrative officer surfaced against Fouzia Rezwan.
On November 8, 2021, the Anti-Corruption Commission summoned the principal of Ideal School and College, Shahan Ara Begum, over allegations of hoarding illegal assets.
Guards prepare to protest
Ziaul Kabir Dulu, chairman of the Guardians Forum of Bangladesh, told TBS that many schools charge extra fees due to the rising cost of living.
“It’s just inhuman,” he commented. “Our revenues have not increased, when in fact they have decreased for many.”
“We plan to start a movement against schools that charge extra and unnecessary fees,” he said.
Md Abdul Majid Sujon, secretary general of Viqarunnisa Noon School & College Caretakers Forum, told TBS that the forum has been demanding since the outbreak of the pandemic that school authorities reduce fees.
“We formed human chains, held rallies and held press conferences to press our demands, but to no avail. Now we have no choice but to take to the streets soon,” he said. -he declares.