Parents allege arm-twisting by Sacred Heart School

The management of Sacred Heart High School located in Sector 4, Vashi has drawn the ire of parents who feel that they and their wards are being exploited. Seventy per cent of the children studying here come from middle class families. Parents allege mental and physical harassment of their children. Fee hike is another major complaint of parents. The management has denied all charges.
Only after a number of
follow ups by parents the first meeting of parents and management was organized on July 23.
A parent said, “Fee has doubled in just two years. In 2008 the fee was hiked from Rs 450 to Rs 600 and now it has been raised to Rs 800 which is almost double!”.
“Rs 1,000 were collected last year for taking children to picnic but the whole year no picnic was organized. Rs 2,500 were collected forcefully from us in the name of developing a basketball court and school magazine costing Rs 200 was also sold compulsorily,” said another parent.
“The management stooped so low that they collected Rs 30 extra for delay in buying books from school in the name of fund for Catholic welfare but did not issue proper receipts. The cost of the books was Rs 465 but as many parents who were on vacation returned they were told to pay Rs 495. The receipt was manually changed from Rs 465 to Rs 495,” fumed another parent.
“Rs 2,500 are charged extra for optional subject like Hindi and Sanskrit even when the tuition fee is taken for all subjects. Teachers who cannot speak Hindi properly are teaching subjects like Hindi and Marathi and hence they are unable to explain properly to students. Miscellaneous and activity charges are levied but no activities are conducted,” said another parent.
“There is no toilets on third floor. Students are made to go to lower floors. Moreover, the toilets are in filthy condition and always stinking. Students are made to clean them in the name of social work. And children are compelled to buy tickets of charity show,” fumed another parent.
“The school does not fail to collect Development Fund which is another name for donation. A student is not allowed to sit for his or her exam papers if the fee is not paid for two months. Moreover, the student and parents are insulted by teachers for disclosing the school’s wrong-doings in front of other students and parents,” said a parent.
Responding to the concerns of parents the school principal Father Joaquim D’Costa said, “I have joined from June 2008 and since then I have not allowed any amount to be collected as donation. The fee has been hiked due to implementation of Sixth Pay Commission”. He mentioned the expenses borne by the school and said, “If we do not increase fee the school will have to bear a minimum loss of Rs one lakh every month. This may lead to closure of the school and risking the future of thousands of students.”
This was challenged by the parents who had alleged that the management is manipulating the accounts by not disclosing the amount collected in the name of development fund, picnic charges, etc.
Responding to this the principal said, “To my knowledge there is no such fund collected. If such a thing comes to my knowledge I am ready to repay it.
The parents have called a gate meeting on July 30 at 8 am in front of the school.

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