The English medium schools in the capital are set to increase tuition fees from the upcoming academic session beginning next month, dealing a further blow to guardians, especially those belonging to the middle-income group.
Though the school authorities are pointing at growing expenses in facilitating academic activities and tax hike in the proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, many guardians believe this is being done to make up for the loss incurred due to a High Court injunction on taking readmission fees.
Amina Ratna, a guardian whose two children study at an English medium school located in Dhanmondi, said the authorities had increased tuition fees to Tk 6,500 from Tk 4,600 for class-I, and Tk 7,800 from Tk 5,100 for class-VII.
"The schools have hiked the tuition fees all of a sudden tactically to take money after the High Court ordered them not to take readmission fees," she told The Daily Star.
Manjur Rashid, whose child studies in class-I in the same school, said a monthly increase of Tk 1,900 meant the family would have to pay around Tk 22,000 extra annually, whereas the readmission fee was Tk 15,000.
The other schools too have either issued notices regarding the hike to guardians or are preparing to do so.
Terming the fee increase a burden, some guardians under the banner of "Guardians of English Medium Schools" held protests in Dhanmondi last Tuesday and sought government intervention to stop what they call "a new strategy to make money through bypassing the HC order".
On April 23, the HC directed the government to take effective steps to prevent English medium schools across the country from taking readmission fees for the next three months.
The court also issued a rule upon the government to explain in four weeks why it should not be directed to form a monitoring cell to supervise admission, readmission and session fees at English medium schools.
The school authorities, however, see the tuition fees as justified.
Yasmeen Habib, vice-principal of Sunnydale School, said her school had decided to "nominally" increase the tuition fees only to cope with skyrocketing expenses in ensuring quality education for students.
"The average increase in tuition fees from class-I to class-X is between Tk 1,000 and Tk 1,500 ... The existing fees were fixed two years ago. The increase in expenses in the meantime has forced us to raise tuition fees," she told The Daily Star.
"If anyone still feels otherwise, they are welcome to come and talk to us. We have nothing to hide," she asserted.
Meanwhile, guardians at last week's protest programme vented their disappointment at the government's failure to form a body to monitor English medium schools.
"We don't want any subsidy. We want an authority that will supervise the English medium schools so that they don't increase fees abruptly," said a guardian at the programme.