School Fees – Is It The New Age Contraceptive Pill ?


After the opening marathon I run every morning with my kids, my day generally starts with Twitter and a cup of tea. A scan through the tweets is amazingly refreshing. Today was no different, and as I was going through the tweets, I stopped at a hilarious one. It says (not exact words) # “Contraceptive pills and condoms are 2nd and 3rd measures of controlling population, and the first one being school fees.” Reading it I laughed and laughed, and suddenly realized, the tweet is just so apt and relevant. How true is that? Isn’t it a grim truth, that school fees has actually made many of us think twice before having a second child, and worse, even about the first one ? I personally know couples who chose to adopt ‘one child policy’ or had delayed pregnancy because of the huge school fees that haunts us. I agree there are several other reasons too, but school fees is for sure something that stops us from giving our child one of the sweetest gift of life, a sibling. True, but a tad sad !

This reminds me of my days when I was hoping length and breadth of this city to find a suitable school for my boy. Every time we saw the fees card, we would have a mini heart attack. And invariably, my husband would say, “dusra bhool jao” (Forget about a second child). Several times I told the person in-charge, “kitna jyada hai bhaiyaji (this so exorbitant sir),” and he would reply with a smirk, “ acha education chahiye to paisa dena padega madam, warna sarkari school mein jao (if you want quality education, you have to shell out madam, or else try for government school.” But, where was the ‘sarkari school’ with quality education and infrastructure? I am sure many of you have walked similar path, and taken some crucial decisions of your life based on this. I mean, is this fair?

A recent article in TOI reads that the private medical colleges fees in TamilNadu is hiked by 100 %. Are they going to produce doctors from Mars? In an urban set up, for per-nursery, the admission is running in hundred thousands. If you want better education, shell out all you have !! How unjust is that? Among several issues that our country is crooning today, access to quality education is certainly the one, which needs a bright day’s light. As it has been pointed out several times by intellectuals and literaties, that a comprehensive and exhaustive academic system that every common man has access to, is what our new and progressive India needs. Till a certain age, let every child learn the same. Let there be some for the elites, but let there be quality for the masses, as well. I agree higher educational infrastructure needs money, but at least the basic should not be such, that deprives the larger population. And, this what is happening, and I feel is grossly unjust and criminal.

Every parent irrespective of religion, caste, creed, rich or poor wants to give his/her child the best education. We all in our own limits are trying hard to give our children a better and brighter future. But, there is always slight discontentment, wish I could have given my child a shade better ! My maid’s daughter completed her graduation, and is working as a school teacher. And, am hugely proud of her. She was fortunate to have got her education partly sponsored. But, there are many who are not so blessed and fortunate. We all are a product of this education system, and know what can make this wonderful system even better.

Well, let’s unite together and march for a comprehensive, affordable and accessible education. I am sure many of you are already at the helm of things, and working towards making things happen. The way polio is eradicated with a relentless drive, why not voice our opinion, and regularize and streamline our education system. Let’s make education a toy that every child dreams off and have access to. May there be some difference, but not disparity. Let the fees not be a burden for either us or our children towards happiness and progress. Rather, be a blessing that we would embrace with all our heart, in more ways than one. Amen !

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