School fees in Bangalore

I came across this article in today’s Times Of India: School fees in Bangalore go through the roof. This is a really big problem here and one that keeps on growing. In order to meet the school fees people are cutting down on other expenses. Travel, birthday parties, misc entertainment, lifestyle items and even food are being curtailed, life’s savings are being depleted. Ladies of the house are working extra. Working women are taking longer hours at work. Housewives are taking up jobs and by curtailing food, health problems are creeping in. People are compromising their lifestyle and even essentials to meet school fees and donations. As per the news report one person is having to skip home loan EMIs even!

This is everywhere in Bangalore. I see it all around me. Question is how did this situation come about in Bangalore more than in other cities? I think people are to blame more than the schools. There is a school craze with people making beeline for hyped high-fee schools. In fact it has become a status symbol. I have heard one parent commenting “If I put my child in the best school tomorrow he will grow to be a successful CEO”!

How much more ridiculous reasoning one can get? The schools are obviously riding this wave. Several are just franchises licensing the brand of well-known schools. Schools are asking for fat donations increasing fees rapidly and so on. Schools are requiring expensive branded dresses, gadgets and other equipment in mutually beneficial tie-ups with industry. The blame lies on school-crazy parents as much as they lie on the lack of regulations and governance in the system.

It is the higher studies that really have a career impact. If you finish off your funds in primary education how will you provide the critical higher education to your offspring? What about children from villages? I see village and small-town children regularly scoring high in competitive exams. I personally know a whole lot people (including my parents) who had studied in traditional non-hyped schools and have been successful in their careers. I am yet to come across a recruiting system in the industry that considers school as a criteria.

Of course I’d want to give my ward to a good school but that definition of “good” will have to exclude hype and brand. That person in the news story who is skipping EMIs is getting a bad credit record. He will have trouble getting a higher education loan when required. I am fortunate to have ignored all the hype and stuck with a traditional non-big-brand school with reasonable fees. I am happy with the education being provided. However fees are inching up, given the conditions and the  system. So how long will it remain reasonable is a question?

This is all so pointless and ridiculous.

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