(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Hundreds of expatriate families have been hit hard by a steep hike in transport fees announced by two leading Indian schools, with the beginning of the new academic year.
A third Indian school has issued a circular to parents saying a hike in tuition fee is imminent and they will be required to pay the revised fees with restrospetive effect from April 1. The three schools together have about 20,000 students on their rolls, including a large number of non-Indian students.
The MES Indian School and the Ideal Indian School (IIS) have imposed a hike in transport fees, effective from April 1. IIS has raised the transport fee by 40 to 67 percent, while the hike announced by the MES amounted to more than 30 per cent.
The Birla Public School (BPS) recently sent a circular to the parents saying it has been granted permission from the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to raise the tuition fee and the revised fee structute would be announced shortly.
SEC recently said that it had given permission to 24 private schools and kindergartens to raise their fees in the 2012-2013 academic year. A 10 percent cap has been put on tuition fee hike, according to a SEC statement. Some schools have been allowed to raise their transport fees, said the statement, without referring to any ceiling on the hike.
According to the revised fee structure announced by the IIS, the monthly transport fee has been fixed at QR200 inside Doha city and QR250 to areas outside the city. Earlier the fee inside the city varied from QR125 to QR150 while it was not more than QR200 for most areas outside Doha.
"We have three school going children and we had been paying QR125 for each student. Now the fee has been raised by QR75 which means that we will have to shell out an additional QR225 per month for three children. I am surprised how the school got permission to impose such a steep hike all of a sudden," wondered a parent.
A school official justified the hike saying the school had not raised the transport fee for more than five years and it was the lowest compared to other Indian schools here.
"We have been seeking permission from the SEC to raise the transport fee for several years. Only now SEC has given permission. We had also sought permission to raise the tuition fees but it was not granted.'" said the official.
"The previous fee structure was decided when the school was operating at its old premises in Mamoura. Now the school has shifted to new premises in Abu Hamour. Earlier we had been following different fee structure for different areas. Now it has been unified," he added.
The MES Indian School yesterday issued a circular to parents announcing the fee hike. According to the revised fee structure, the monthly transport fee for the Doha area has been raised to QR225 while the fee to Ras Abu Fontas, Wakra and Mesaieed has become QR260. Transport fee to Al Khor has been fixed at QR315.
The school since last year has imposed an additional monthly fee of QR50 for e-learning. E-learning was first introduced as optional but was later made compulsory. All the students are now compelled to pay this addtional fee.
"The e-learning system has now been introduced in all the classes. We can not set up special classrooms for a few students. If there is enough number of students who are not interested in e-learning, we can consider arranging separate classes for them," school Principal A P Sasidharan said yesterday.
BPS Principal A K Srivasthava said that the school has got permission from the SEC to hike the tuition fee but the announcement of the revised fee structure has been delayed because discussions are still on. He said the school has not been given permission to raise the transport fees.