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Govt pry schools charging admission fees

Ahmed Shatil Alam

Many government primary schools are charging admission fees although any type of fees is prohibited in government and registered non-government primary schools.
The Education Policy 2010, approved by the Jatiya Sangsad, reads: ‘Primary education is universal and free. Providing education of the same quality to all students is a duty of the government.’
In most cases, guardians from lower income groups chose to enrol their kids at in the government primary schools and charging admission fees puts a burden on them.
The teachers, however, claim that insufficient contingency allocation provided by the government forced them to charge some fees from the guardians of admission-seekers to meet the regular expenditure including the payment of salary of a supporting staff, who is not on government payroll, for the school.
Guardians and students alleged that teachers of at least three schools in the capital — Kalyanpur Model Government Primary School, BG Press Government Primary School and Shantibagh Government Primary School — are realising admission fees and others charges from the students. 
Rahman Miah, father of a Class I student of Kalyanpur Model Government Primary School, told New Age on Friday that he had to pay Tk 300 as admission fee, but no money receipt was goven.
Afroza Banu, mother of a Class III student of BG Press Government Primary School, said that she had to pay Tk 200 as admission fee for her child.
Teachers said that school authorities realised fees as government pays insufficient money as contingency fund and they had to pay a maid-servant. 
BG Press school teacher Afroza Khatun said that as per the government rules there was no post of supporting staff at government primary schools and they needed to hire a staff and pay him/her.
Shantibagh Government Primary School students alleged that school authorities charged TK 50 as examination fee and other charges ahead of sports and other programmes.
School headmistress Alyea Akhter said that they did not charge any fees excepting for annual sports.
Directorate of Primary Education director general Shyamal Kanti Ghosh said, ‘Any type of fees is prohibited at government and registered non-government primary schools. We must take action against the headmasters and also the school managing committee members for charging any fee.’
Authorities and school managing committee will settle the issue of payment of supporting staffs, he said. 
Last year, all the 20 teachers of Nababganj Government Primary School at Lalbagh in Dhaka were transferred as a punishment for charging fees. The head teacher of the school, Noore Alam Siddique, was suspended and thana primary education officer was transferred to Zakiganj in Sylhet.
There are 37,672 government primary schools offering education up to Class V and about 26,000 registered primary schools are in the process of nationalisation.

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