A few days ago, I saw a circular that my sister got from her school, same school where I completed my +2 as well. The circular in very bold, attractive letters had the heading, ‘Career Counselling‘, which could interest any parent in an instance. My parents did not read too much into it, as they usually leave all these career counselling things for my younger sibling to me, which is logical as I am three years elder to her and have a better knowledge about what would be suitable for her at this present time, keeping in mind her interests. I procrastinated about reading the circular ( as I usually do :p), but then ultimately got rid of my laziness and started reading it.
The school was tying up with a career counselling service company which apparently had mentored and guided several thousands of other students and had previous tie ups with hundreds of reputable institutions. The company, predictably was the same company that had given these services to the school at the time I was in my +2 years as well. For the entire 2 years, I had an account with the company, that was supposed to have weekly webinars and other services that would enable me to make a better informed decision regarding my college. In the few times I logged into my account on the company’s platform, I saw various college names, all of which had been ranked by the fellow users ( and other people). Unsurprisingly, there were a few institutions which were sponsored and always appeared at the top of the ‘desired top colleges’ list with a rating of around 4.5-5 stars out of 5, which serves onto explain how commerce and profit making is the thing of utmost importance, even more important than correctly guiding a student regarding his future. Still, I thought that the initiative taken by the school was in good spirits, indeed to help the students.
However, when I saw the circular that my sister got, I found something very surprising. The school was charging an annual fee of ₹240 for the services of the same company, which were provided to our batch free of cost. This annual charge was not an ‘option’ that the students could avail of, it was a mandatory thing. All that the student had to do was to get the circular signed by the parents, bring ₹240 and hope that for the upcoming year these ₹240 would guide them to the correct path. ₹240 seemed such a small amount. An amount that provided so much more utility to the parents who trusted the school and wanted a bright future for their child, the parents who thought Career counselling was the boon they were looking for ; and the student, the student who thought that perhaps things would be a little clearer in his head now.
But, obviously the school is as much an organization as the company, and obviously the tag of a ‘not for profit organization’ isnt going to stop it from tying up with companies and reaping profits, even though it plays on the hopes of those parents, rich or poor, who think enrolling in a private school would surely increase the chances of a brighter future for both; their child and they.
As a student of the same school, the school which I deeply respect for making me the person I am today, I perhaps should not care about a few extra bucks that the parents might have to spend, right? I think the same, but then I do my math. Assuming that there are 1000 students in the school and the school takes an annual charge of ₹240 from each of them, the school gets an impressive ₹240000 in its pocket in a year. And mind it, this is only a single service that I am pointing out here. There are several such services already added to your fee, and then there are the payment charges to get your I Card! Yes, to get your I card, you have to pay! Not only this, it would take me a whole another article to point out the menace of under the table funding just to get pre primary class admissions into private schools. And also hiring teachers on temporary basis and paying them less than the standard salary rate.
It is sad that the schools which legally are ‘not for profit organizations’ and are socially considered as ‘holy places’ are neither not for profit nor holy. There is no doubt that some schools do provide quality education, which indeed helps you in shaping your future, but that is what a school is there for. There certainly is no rational behind justifying these extra charges on the pretext of providing quality education.
– Darpan Jain