SHILLONG, Feb 10: With the reopening of schools in the state after the winter vacations, it is time for books, stationery and other items which are part and parcel of today’s education. As books, copies, backpacks et al are now distributed by respective schools to their students; there are certain complaints that are coming forward. One such school run by a religious institution located in Upper Laban area of the city is allegedly selling books and copies to parents of students without any Maximum Retail Price (MRP) printed on them. It has come to light that though the text books carry MRP, the customized exercise books with the emblem of the institution have no price printed on them due to which parents are unable to ascertain the cost and feel cheated as a result.
There are opinions that when the school has made it mandatory for students to purchase school text and exercise books from the school, the school should cite the price or else it would indicate some foul play by the school authorities. This correspondent learnt that parents were made to pay over Rs 2500 for a certain standard whereas there is no mention of price on the customized exercise books. It is also alleged by parents of this school that students from standard V onwards automatically come under the aegis of the Meghalaya government education patterns but this has not been the case this time. When some parents enquired about this, the school authority told them that the students will come under such patterns from standard VII onwards.
It may be mentioned here that when students are placed under different patterns of school education of the state government they are entitled to benefits in the form of subsidised school fees whereas school books and stationeries are not mandatorily needed to be purchased from the school. But here parents smell some foul play on the side of this school and suspects that even if the government has made it obligatory for the school to place students under government patterns from standard V, the school is evading such compulsion as there is no scrutiny from the side of the state education department. This means that the school is illegally collecting fees from students and selling text and exercise books which parents are not supposed to purchase as they are expected to get relief under the government pattern.
While calling upon the state education department to book this school from carrying on with such malpractices in the name of education and that too by a religious institution, there are observations as to how can such trade practices continue at the cost of poor parents and guardians.
While selling any products without a printed MRP is a legal offence, these parents sought to know how this school can sell customized exercise books without the MRP and whether the concerned department can prosecute the school for this.