Defense Minister A.K. Antony on Sunday promised that the issue of high fees charged by Sainik Schools, the chain of institutions run by the defense ministry, will be looked into. “I can't give you any assurances right now but I assure you that the issue would be seriously looked into and we will do everything possible to see what can be done,” Antony said after inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the Sainik School here. Antony also heard the grievances of some parents representatives on the matter. Currently, the monthly fees of a Sainik School student is above Rs.5,000. A student receiving full scholarship too has to shell out about Rs.2,500 every month. Only pupils from the reserved categories are exempt from paying fees. Speaking to the sources on condition of anonymity, an alumnus of the school said the Sainik Schools were charging high fees because the pension of the retired teachers was being funded from the students' fee payments. “The state government shells out around Rs.2 crore every year and that is used for the upkeep of the school infrastructure, scholarships and dietary expenses. The defense ministry gives only half of what the state government gives. “Around 15 years back, a full scholarship holder could have studied without paying any monthly fees, but today he has to shell out Rs.2,500,” the alumnus said.
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