Parents association agitated over tuition fee hike

New Delhi: An association representing parents are agitated over recurring tuition fee hike in unaided private schools in the city and is weighing the option of moving the court to check this practice.

According to it, none of the 394 unaided recognised private schools in Delhi situated on public land allotted to them on concessional rates, have obtained permission from Directorate of Education (DoE) as per terms and conditions to hike fee.

The "arbitrary" fee hike is a "breach of trust" and "extortion" on the part of the schools, said president of All India Parents Association (AIPS) advocate Ashok Agarwal, adding they could even move court to seek justice.

The association also flayed private schools` suggestion to raise tuition fee after Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of RTE Act providing 25 per cent reservation for EWS students in unaided private schools, saying "this is yet another ploy to raise the fee".

"The law is well settled. The burden of the cost of a child cannot be shifted to another," Agarwal said.

The Delhi unit of AIPA has decided against paying the recent hike in fee effected by the unaided private schools here from April 1 till the schools approach the DoE or Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee on Fee Hike and obtain approval from them.

The Delhi High Court had earlier set up the three-member committee to examine the validity of fee hike by private schools from 2009 onwards.

President of the Delhi unit I S Gambhir said they would mobilise support of all parents in the coming days, reaching out to those in the NCR region also as "little could be achieved unless we involve parents of all schools".

Gambhir said the other objective of AIPS is to sensitise the society at large about the plight of government schools in the city and the urgent need for their revival.

"The private schools are taking advantage of the declining standard of government schools knowing well that parents have little choice but to admit their ward in private schools," he said.

As per records, there are over 5000 government schools in the capital as against 1100 odd private schools.

Meanwhile, officials in the HRD Ministry said government`s reimbursement to schools for providing free education to children from vulnerable section would be in the range of Rs 3000 per student annually based on the expenditure per student in government schools or kendriya vidyalayas.

"This is the average but every state has to frame rules defining their reimbursement," they said as there is a growing clamour among a host of private schools in the city to raise tuition fee.

AIPS on its part has decided to hold its next meeting this month and stage a demonstration in front of the DoE office in May to protest against the alleged inaction on its part to take civil and criminal actions against all the erring schools which were indicted by the CAG in its audit report of 2010.

"DoE instead of taking action against the schools is practically protecting the mighty and the greedy managements of the unaided private schools," AIPS said.