Schools in the private and unaided sector have effected an average hike of 10 to 15 per cent this year, thanks to efforts to pay their teaching staff better salaries.

As a consequence, parents will be doling out anywhere between Rs 1,600 to Rs 4,000 extra towards school fees this time around.

“We’ve no other option than to increase the school fees as almost all the schools are going in for a substantial hike in payment to teaching staff.

On an average schools are increasing students’ fees by up to 15 per cent to cover salary and other cost hikes,” former additional solicitor general and chairman of the Kerala federation of CBSE/ICSE schools, T.P.M Ibrahim Khan, said.

Parents, most of them, are unwillingly obliged to go along with the fee hike, for the sake of their children’s educati-on.

But they demand more quality education and better infrastructure.

“The fees should be hiked for additional facilities and not to pay the teachers. The salary expense should be met by the management itself,” Santosh Purushothaman, father of Sarang S. studying in one of the leading city schools, said.

The move by schools is seen as an indirect way to comply with the guidelines prescribed by the state government.

The order of the general education department reads: “the school shall appoint only qualified and eligible staff and must pay the salary and allowances and other benefits to the employees of the school.

Emplo-yees in CBSE/ICSE sch-ools shall be offered the same pay scales including benefits as in government schools of the equivalent category.”

Khan however, begs to differ stating that schools always revised the staff’s salary every year. “This time we’re giving them more which resulted has resulted in the hike of children’s school fees.”

Special squads to ensure school bus safety : RTO

In a tie-up with education outlets and the police, the motor vehicle department, will form special squads whi-ch will conduct surprise checks at schools to ascertain the condition of school buses round the year.

“This time, once schools reopen a special squad will check the fitness of vehicles inside school campuses at frequent intervals.

This initiative comes after we’ve noticed that many schools are running old buses without proper mai-ntenance. We don’t want to stop them mid-way while taking students,” Ernaku-lam RTO T.J. Thomas said.

Another measure is to zero-in on small vehicles like autorickshaws and Maruti vans which take more students than the permissible capacity.

“In such cases, besides strict action against drivers, we’ll communicate with parents and ask them not to send their children in crowded vehicles,” the officer said.

He said a large number of school buses were submitted for fitness-tests this vacation when the authorities were strict about giving permission.

“We also aim to give safety tips to ayahs and PTA members besides insisting that schools employ ‘Safety Officers’, who will keep a track of the journey.

Shopping reaches a crescendo

Shops in the city, especially the Broadway, are already abuzz with activities with children and parents thronging in large numbers.

Compared to the previous year the rates of bags, umbrella, shoes etc have gone up, but only marginally.

Kids prefer things which have animated pictures like ANGRY BIRDS and BEN10 on it. High school students are more after branded items.

Some schools prefer steel bottles and lunch box to avoid of plastic. There is demand for swim suits also with schools offering such activities.

Even though some schools have banned trolley bags it is still being sold among the customers.

This year rates of textbooks for the classes VIII, IX and X went up from Rs 60 and Rs 70 to Rs 80 and Rs 90.

The CBSE and ICSE/ISC school students are the major customers at textbook shops. Along with the textbooks, students prefer guides for the subjects which further shoots up the cost.

Keywords:Schools,teaching staff , salaries, school fees,CBSE,ICSE schools,Parents,children’s, education, teachers,city schools, employees of the school,category,RTO,PTA members,Safety Officers