NEW DELHI: To try and rein in rising school fees, parents of students of 30 city schools on Sunday decided not to pay the hiked fees for the new session. Parents gathered at a meeting called by the All India Parents' Association (AIPA) on Sunday, following the latest guidelines issued by the directorate of education (DoE) on April 16. The DoE guidelines now make it mandatory for a school to get the consent of its Parent Teacher Association before the school-managing committee approves any hike in the fee.
According to AIPA, parents will not pay any hike in the fee for the new session, which started this month, unless every school forms a valid PTA and takes its consent before hiking the fee. "Schools have invariably increased the fee by 15% to 20% at the start of the session even though such a hike is unnecessary in most cases. We have now decided to pay the same fee as before and not the hiked amount, said Ashok Aggarwal, national president, AIPA. Aggarwal added, "Parents of nearly 30 schools were present in the meeting, including Summer Fields School, Kailash Colony; Air force Bal Bharati, Lodhi Road; Green Fields School, Safdarjung Enclave; Ramjas School, Anand Parbat; Sachdeva Public School, Rohini; Vishal Bharti School, Paschim Vihar; Navy Children School, Chanakyapuri and others on Sunday morning which went on for almost two-and-a-half hours. We will make other parents also aware of this decision. DoE's fresh guidelines have given us a legal backing. If schools take any action against the parents, we will move court.
AIPA has also decided to move the High court in the coming week so any further hike in fee by the schools can be stopped till the pending issues are settled. Aggarwal said, "The earlier disputes on the matter of fee hike after the Sixth Pay Commission have not been settled yet. How can the schools again hike the fee? There are so many schools in south and east Delhi and Rohini which have made a steep hike in fee again this year. They do not even have proper PTAs. According to parents present at the meeting, most schools have surplus funds that can be used by the school instead of hiking the fee every year.
A parent, whose child studies in a reputed school in south Delhi, but did not wish to be named, said, "The school has asked parents to pay a total of Rs 43,600 at the start of the session when another branch of the school is asking for Rs 25,000. The problem is we are not really aware of what all charges can a school levy on us. All parents are agitated but don't know how to react. The school has no parents association. He said that around Rs 23,000 of the total fee had to be paid for various heads like development fund, orientation fee and miscellaneous charges. "We are afraid of going to the school management individually and the school doesn't listen to us either," he said.
However, schools call parents step unjustified and the directorate's latest circular illegal. According to schools, the quantum of hike has to be decided by March every year and the managing committees have governments nominees on it. R P Mullick, chairperson, Federation of Schools — a body of 300 private unaided schools in the city — said, "No act says that the fee hike has to be approved by the PTA. Only the managing committee of the school has to clear it. Most schools have already done that in March and the government's nominees have signed on it. The hiked fee has been also been recovered in many schools. How can DoE then send us such a circular? We are not going to follow it as it is illegal."
Want to read the circular by DoE on yourself ? Click on the link below