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Indian expats fight fee hike through blogs

Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 3:29am IST
While parents in Mumbai are taking schools to court for unreasonable fee hike, Indian expatriates working in Singapore are battling fee hikes in schools through blogs.

MUMBAI: While parents in Mumbai are taking schools to court for unreasonable fee hike, Indian expatriates working in Singapore are battling fee hikes in schools through blogs.

The Global Indian International School (GIIS) at Queenstown, Singapore, which caters to a majority of Indian population has hiked its fees by 25 to 35 per cent.
Parents of students studying at the GIIS, Malaysia and GIIS Queenstown, Singapore have formed a forum through their blog, www.forabettergiis.blogspot.com. The blog has around 150 members from Singapore and has already chalked out an elaborate strategy to fight against the fee hike. “We will draft a petition to the High Commission with sufficient signatures, but this will take time and the matter is urgent. We even wrote a letter to Justice CS Dharmadhikari, the vice-president of Global Indian Foundation, but there was no response,” said Anand Sudarshan (name changed), a parent, whose daughter is in class IX.

However, retired Justice Dharmadhikari told DNA that the blog has been created by those who have a grudge against school.

“The blog members are fake parents. I suspect other rivals schools could be involved. The Global Indian Foundation (GIF) is non-profit organisation.” The justice also added that the letter sent by parents through the blog was not received by him.

“The school has hiked its fee by 25 to 35 per cent stating inflation as the reason. However, inflation in Singapore is reported as 4.5 to 5.5 per cent, and salaries of the teaching staff have increased only by 5.9 per cent. So, we don’t understand the reason for a 25-35 per cent hike in school fees,” says K Bala, a parent blogger. The school has increased fees for classes from kindergarten up to junior college.

“The school’s finance committee has examined all price hikes which have affected GIIS operating costs. They have recommended an increase in the tuition fees & school bus fees to accommodate these increased costs,” says Kaustubh Bodhankar, Country Director of GIIS, Singapore in a letter to the parents dated March 1.

The school run by the foundation has campuses in Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, India and Singapore. “The school is collecting increased fees from us to build campuses in other countries. The fee is going to be diverted out to fund the third campus coming up in Singapore,” said another parent.




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