This has created an additional burden for parents and guardians, especially those who are insolvent, ahead of the important examinations.
The education board authorities have fixed the total fees at Tk1,725 in Commerce group and Tk1,825 in Science group.
However many school authorities in the upazila are taking Tk2550 in Commerce and Tk3200 in Science group students, alleged students and guardians of 32 higher secondary schools in the upazila.
Allegations came that schools managed by leaders of the Bangladesh Teachers Association were collecting more money from candidates, in the name of coaching classes and school development.
Besides, an amount was also being charged for development activities of the school alongside expenses regarding school magazine, sports, annual milad, maintenance of mosques, and salaries of fourth-class employees.
The act was passed without taking into consideration the guardians who have severe financial constraints.
To arrange the amount, many of the guardians are selling or mortgaging their properties. They are also being compelled to borrow money from loan sharks and banks.
Realisation of extra fees from the candidates by school authorities has triggered outrage amongst examinees and guardians.
Rehana Begum, a domestic worker residing at the Belabo town, said she had to borrow Tk3,200 from a money lender to pay her daughter’s SSC examination fee and did not know how she would repay the loan.
According to an anonymous some students of Kashimnagar High School, said the school is charging a minimum of Tk3,200 as SSC Examination fees from each candidate, ignoring the official instructions.
“The authorities of schools are charging excessive fees, which is too much for those of us who do not earn that much,” said a rickshaw-puller, Abdul Bashar, father of a SSC examinee, from the High School.
Enamul Haque, a social worker, said underprivileged guardians were worried as institutions were ignoring the official instructions and charging much more than the amount fixed by the education board.
When contacted, the headmasters of several high schools denied the allegation. They said they were realising examination fees as per direction of the education board. They were collecting only the arrears, institution development fee and coaching fees as extra.
Masudur Rahman, president of Teachers Association, said the extra money was collected as tuition fees for coaching classes provided to students.
Md Rubayet Hossain, head teacher of Kashimnagr High School, admitted to charging extra fees and claimed that they were taking the extra money from students for additional expenditure that was not covered by the board fees. He said his school used the extra money to pay for two things.
“The SSC examinees are given coaching classes after school, for which the teachers have to be paid. And some underprivileged students are unable to pay, so we have to cover their costs by taking from others,” he also said.
Education Officer Shahidul Alam said:“If I get any written allegation from the students or their guardians regarding extra fees, I will take necessary action against the management or authority of the institution concerned according to law.”