May 26, 2009

Delhi HC directs Delhi Govt. unaided pvt schools to justify fee hike

Alarmed at the inflated figures shown by the unaided private schools, the Delhi High Court directed the schools as well as the Delhi Government to justify their stand on fee hike.
The court made it clear committees would be formed to see how the schools were raising the fees of students arbitrarily and disproportionate to the hike in teacher’s salaries.
A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and V K Jain told the Delhi Government’s education department that the committee formed by them had been quite ineffective so far. There was no justification what so ever in the manner each school has hiked the fees in a different fashion, the court lamented.
There has to be some checks and balance, the judges said.
Mr Ashok Aggarwal of the NGO Social Jurist drew attention of the court to a school which claimed to have 4000 students on its rolls and having 190 teachers and 400 classes. ‘There should be only 100 teachers at the most in such schools,’ he said.
Mr Aggarwal said the schools had given fictitious figures of the teachers and shown how they would have to bear the burden of the increase in salaries in the wake of the Sixth Pay Commission.
He said by giving false projections the schools were passing on the buck to the parents and all burden of the salary hike had been put on the students. This would deny the students the right to quality education - a fundamental right - as parents would be forced to withdraw their children from schools.
Mr Aggarwal said already the schools charged a lumpsum amount from each student as contingency fund which they used for giving salaries to the teachers.
He told the court that schools were misleading the parents as well as the court by showing incorrect statistics to justify the fee hike. There was no uniform pattern adopted by the schools to raise the fees but each school ‘in connivance with the Delhi Government officials is raising fees at its whims and fancy’.
The court said, ‘We will form a committee to look into the issue and we want an effective committee in each area to address the grievances of the parents.’ The court asked the Delhi Government and the private schools to give their suggestions about the type of committee to be formed.