HYDERABAD: The once small-scale school events have metamorphosed into mega events, creeping out of school campuses into stadiums and auditoriums, galleries or even hotels. Be it the school's annual day or an anniversary blast, the budgets of these celebrations are now in the range of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per annum.
From renting sports stadiums to flaunting a few local celebrities and public figures in functions including annual days, the schools are ready to do it all to market themselves to future parents. In the past few months alone, a city school has organised a function at Gachibowli stadium spending Rs 55,000 even as another school is currently planning to book the same location for its 15 year anniversary to be held soon, the budget for which is estimated to be Rs 75,000. Another such event in the city was a musical event organised by a private school spending Rs 35,000 with professional singers from the city participating in it.
But even as the managements are having a blast with these publicity functions meant to attract more students to their schools, it is the parents who are feeling the pinch with the managements seeking "contributions'' from students. Schools collect Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 per student to conduct these mega events.
"Right at the beginning of the academic year, the fee collected is based on the expenditure of the school to hold such events too. The 10 to 30 per cent fee hike which is thrust upon the parents every year is the direct result of such events conducted by the school," a parent said.
Parents also alleged that while splurging money on public functions, the schools do not take care of the interests of the students. "From Sanskrit Divas to Hindi Diwas the students are made to participate in all events in the school and we are forced to spend on costumes and food," said a parent.
With schools actively celebrating every event , right from "Global Handwash Day" to "Say no to Drugs Campaign" on the roads, holding rallies to attract attention more to their brand than to the cause, the parents remain a disgruntled lot.
Parents pointed out that there are some schools which hold mega events thoughout the year for publicity. These schools which have branches across the city and conduct at least 10 events in a month, starting from inter school painting competitions and debate competitions to stamp exhibitions, most of which are held in public venues like galleries.
Meanwhile, students said that they often feel compelled to participate in the events. "In our school all the trips are currently study tours and it is mandatory for us to attend them. We are also supposed to participate in all the festivals be it Janmashtami or Dasara and these functions are held in Ravindra Bharati and not the school premises," said a student.
Parents say with the state government not introducing a fee regulation act even after the High Court directed them to bring relief to the parents by regulating fees, they would have to continue funding school functions.
(Times of India | Hyderabad | Page5 | 11.11.2010)