Outrage as Play Pen School blocks students from online classes over unpaid fees

  • Shahidul Islam, Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-06-24 00:47:11 BdST

Play Pen School, an English medium school in Dhaka, has blocked students from accessing online classes after they failed to pay fees amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The school authorities acknowledged that they blocked these students from taking part in the classes from Jun 18, four days after opening online services.

It has left the parents fuming.

The authorities, however, said the parents had been repeatedly notified but they did not pay up.

Located at Dhaka’s Bashundhara, the school has more than 1600 ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels students studying with around 250 teachers providing lessons.

The fees for each class IX student is Tk 12,000 per month, while the fees for upper classes are 10 percent higher.

Some parents said their earning streams have dried up amid the COVID-19 crisis which is why they could not pay school fees. The school also levied late fines of up to Tk 1,000 after three months though there were no academic activities in the second half of March, April and May. 

One of the parents, asking to remain anonymous, said an organisation of parents of the students studying in the school asked authorities to cut the fees down by 40-50 percent, but the demand was ignored.

The mother added that the school gave a 30 percent discount on fees for some students.

bdnews24.com tried to reach Principal Sorabon Tohura for comments on the issue but the calls went unanswered.

The manager of the school, Wahida Ferdous, told bdnews24.com, “Everybody is in trouble now, we are thinking about the school. Many parents have told us about their financial problems, we have taken a few in consideration.”

She said the parents had been asked to pay the fees by Jun 11, but allowed all the students to attend classes; even those who could not clear the fees.

The school had mailed the students on Jun 18 telling them they would not be allowed to take lesson in classes if the fees were not cleared. Many could not pay up.

The manager, however, said she did not know that the students were blocked over not paying fees.

Wahida added that after the parents demanded reduced fees they had said that they would consider it according to student profiles.

She also said that the school had been paying the salaries of their teachers in full.

Md Belal Hossain, director of the secondary wing of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, said, they do not intervene much with the running of English-medium education institutions, nor has it been necessary.

“We will take action if a complaint is made,” he added.

“Delivering online classes is a decision reached for all. We have to ensure that all students are able to access online education.”