December 26, 2011

Pros and Cons of reservation in schools for economically backward

With schools having to reserve 25% of their seats for economically backward students from the next academic year, the poor kids will get an opportunity to study in elite schools. Puja Pednekar weighs the pros and cons.

Ten-year-old Rahul Waghmare trudges to a civic school in Andheri every day. He wants to design automobiles when he grows up. But now, he dreams of studying in a posh school.

However, he can’t afford to. His mother and sister work as domestic helps and just about manage to make ends meet.

“My school is in a bad shape. The teachers are absent most of the time and lessons are not taken seriously. I have always wanted to study in a big school,” he said.

His dream might be a reality next year.

From the next academic year, all schools - even the most elite ones — will have to reserve 25% seats for underprivileged children between the ages of 6 and 14.

This is one of the sections of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, introduced in 2009, which will be implemented from next year in the state.

“Such a move will mean that even a deprived child from Dharavi will be able to study in an elite school in the city. These students will get free education till class 8. The state government will pay part of their fees while the rest will have to be borne by the school management,” said a senior education official.

The reservation will give underprivileged students access to good education, say educationists who have welcomed the move.
“In a country where literacy levels are low and good quality education is not affordable to many, the move is the need of the hour,” said Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of the state board.

The scheme will help create equal opportunity for students irrespective of their economic backgrounds, she added.

Although Jayant Jain, president Forum for Fairness in Education, welcomes the move, he is worried for the child after the freeship is over.

“The government will pay his/her fees only till class 8. What will happen to the child after that? The child will be left in the lurch as he would not be able to afford studying in that school once the free education is over. The government should cover a child’s education till class 10 at least,” Jain said.
Schools have their own set of worries after the law is enforced.
They say that such a reservation will change classroom dynamics culturally, socially and economically. They will need to pay extra attention to these students.

“When an underprivileged child studies in a big school with peers who are financially better than them, it might lead to negative feelings and the child might feel let down,” said Vandana Lulla, director, principal of Podar International School, Santa Cruz.

“Also, other children will not know how to mingle with them. Schools need to organise sensitisation programmes for students on how to behave so as not to hurt each other’s sentiments.”

Rohit Bhat, principal of Children’s Academy, Malad, agreed that schools will need a mechanism to assess these children. “We need to know whether the underprivileged children will be able to cope with the curriculum. Teachers will need to work hard with such students through remedials. It will be a tough task,” he said.

The state government will reimburse the schools an amount equal to either the fees charged by the school or the per child expenditure in state schools, whichever is lower.

But, schools are apprehensive whether the move would be economically viable for them. They, instead, want a public-private partnership that will provide education to the deprived children.
“Instead of reserving seats, the government should strengthen the public-private partnership model by allowing schools to adopt municipal schools, send their own qualified teachers to the civic schools and allow students to use their infrastructure,” said Sudeshna Chatterjee, principal of Jamnabai Narsee School, Vile Parle (West).

Parents are worried that the fee burden will fall on the rest of the students.
“Even though the government pays part of the fees of such children, the schools will get an excuse to hike fees saying that they have to cover up for these children.This will make the education system more lopsided and unfair,” said Anita Nagwekar, a parent whose son studies in a school at Andheri.

Several states across the country have already started implementing the reservation.
But Maharashtra came out with its rule book for implementing the RTE in 2011 and will make the 25% reservation clause binding on all schools from the next academic year.

“The RTE is delayed in the state because we are waiting for the Supreme Court decision on the reservation. Some private schools had taken the matter to the court. We cannot implement it until we get a judgment from the court. So by next year, it will fall in place,” said a senior education official.

December 25, 2011

Where motive is profit, education takes a back seat

Formally allowing ‘for-profit' institutions to operate schools will deepen the systemic inequity along economic fault lines.

Section 12 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which enforces a private-public partnership by reserving 25 per cent seats for the economically backward living in the vicinity of a private school, is a major source of anxiety for these institutions. Private trusts and managements fret about eroding autonomy, while parents in elite schools question the high fees in institutions that have lost the right to exclude. This opposition, driven by the middle class, seeks to defend its privileged and rarefied education system from encroachments, which were the initial trigger for the private school movement in India.
Modelled on the British public schools, the early private schools of the pre-independence era, such as Bishop Cotton School and the Lawrence Schools, educated children of English officers and scions of the most privileged Indian families. Schools aided by the government were intended to produce lettered civil servants. In the decades preceding independence, prominent Indian institutions such as the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Delhi Public School Society focussed on developing leaders with an Indian ethos. Over the decades, these schools provided free India with its first bureaucrats and administrators.
Post-independence, democracy universalised education, which until then had been a privilege, signalled by increased enrolments across all demographic profiles. The exodus of the middle class from government to private schools that flourished through the 1960s and 1970s was an acknowledgement of a middle class elitism that was clearly discomfited by the blurring class and caste lines in the classroom. Largely controlled by the upper castes, these private schools were avowedly secular but reinforced caste divisions. Established by non-profit organisations mostly in metropolitan areas, they further distanced the rural-urban educational experience. The mushrooming of lower-end “budget” schools in the last two decades, accounting for 60 per cent of urban enrolment growth in primary education between 1986 and 1993, was a market response to the rising clamour for English education from an aspiring, upwardly mobile lower middle class which did not have the means to send its children to more exclusive private schools.
By default, government schools became synonymous with mass education and were increasingly apportioned to the lower castes and Dalits who aspired to be educated. By the 1980s, because of defunding and slackening civic pressure, the system had collapsed and was marked by low teacher morale, high dropout rates, and rampant absenteeism among both students and teachers.
Over the past 30 years, this deep divide between the two systems has fostered two distinctive streams of education and thereby two exclusive educational and life experiences. The alternative private schooling system has contributed to a social transformation by creating an educated middle class that values economic growth but not social cohesion; that acknowledges education as a critical resource but endorses the marginalisation of groups based on financial status; and that has a sense of entitlement but does not actively advocate universalisation of education.
While the continued existence of private schools is an indictment of the government, in that it has failed to respond to the educational needs of its children, it has also legitimated an attitude that allows the privileged to dissociate themselves from the educational needs of the larger society. With all its shortcomings, which have been extensively documented, the RtE should be commended for trying to bridge the chasm by building on the bedrock of inclusion.
The push by the RtE to re-engage with private schools and re-integrate them into the Indian educational mainstream is an acknowledgement that the market cannot be trusted to deliver education with any degree of equity. To bring in additional resources, the 2010-11 Mid-Year Plan Review advocates deletion of the crucial stipulation that only non-profit educational trusts and charities may operate private schools. More recently, some educational trusts are alleged to be fronts for ‘for-profit' organisations that siphon off the profits, ploughing back little into improving infrastructure and teacher expertise. Formally allowing ‘for-profit' institutions to operate schools, even as they enjoy land, tax and infrastructure concessions, will merely legitimise this profiteering and deepen the systemic inequity along economic fault lines. If taken to its logical end, this could well kill the spirit of the RtE and the Directive Principles enshrined in our Constitution. Experience, national and international, tells us that private players in elementary education foster neither inclusiveness nor equity.
Education is a legal, collective and moral entitlement. When the middle class undertakes to share in this responsibility and ends its apathy to mass education, it may have earned the privilege of a private schooling system. In the process, government schools, responding to a more demanding constituency, are more likely to effectively meet the needs of not just the poor and the marginalised but of society at large.
(Hema Ramanathan is Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar, 2011-12, and Associate Professor, University of West Georgia. Her email ID is: and Parvathy's ID is: parvathy_pb@

December 14, 2011

School 'asks' 840 students to buy iPads

Mumbai:  We moved from blackboards to interactive boards and from there to laptops and now, it is the iPad2. - Vandana Lulla, Director, Podar International School

The government may be patting itself on the back for creating the world's cheapest, Android-based tablet Aakash at not more than Rs. 3,000, but the homegrown gizmo is clearly not the Apple of this posh city school's eye.

The middle and high school education at Podar International School in Santacruz seems ready to integrate Steve Jobs' legacy in daily learning. In a recent circular dated December 9, the school management informed parents that it has decided to introduce iPad2 in classrooms from the next academic year. While some parents welcomed the move, others feel the fancy tablet is not feasible for children.

The second edition of the iPad, which costs Rs. 40,000, is being introduced for the 840 students of Standard VI to XII. But, says director and principal of the school Vandana Lulla, the tablet is not mandatory. The school's circular, however, mentions no alternative for parents who are not entirely sold on the idea, activists point out (see box).

The circular states, "We are pleased to announce that the decision taken by the school management of using Apple iPad2 in the classroom by the students has been welcomed by the parent community. Parents now have the choice of either purchasing the iPad2 from the school on an outright basis or avail of a finance scheme on offer. You also need to indicate if the iPad2 will be purchased by you on your own. You are requested to mark your choice... to take further steps to initiate the process and negotiate the bulk order purchase."

But officials said that wards of parents who do not wish to buy it would have the option of learning on interactive boards that will continue to be used after the iPads are introduced. Those in favour of the idea can buy it on an EMI of Rs. 1,400 or on their own.

iDoubtSome parents have their reservations about the concept. K Mahesh (name changed), a parent of a pupil at Podar School, said, "I was a student once and I know what education is. If you change the syllabus, that is digestible. But if you change the system with some weird logic, it is problematic. I want my kid to follow the existing method of education that millions in this country are following, and setting a benchmark for others. I am not against the use of iPad. But I do no find it feasible for my kid."

Another parent, Sushma Shah (name changed), said, "I use an iPad and I know how difficult it is to handle."

Others argue the opposite. Tannu Kewalramani, PTA chairperson, Podar International School, said, "In a meeting last month, we were given a glimpse of how the iPad2 works and student reviews on it were mostly favourable. Introducing it is a good concept and a majority of parents are ready for it.
"When we use modern technology for even household chores, why not use it in education? As it is, students are more familiar with gadgets than we are."   

Principal speaks Lulla said, "After observing how gadget-savvy students have become and how they are familiar with iPads, I took the initiative to introduce the iPad2. It will help students to retain the content. They can download as many textbooks as they want. Further, a research by a laptop manufacturing company concluded that more use of technology has improved the performance of students in subjects like Biology, Chemistry, History, and Earth Science."

But why the iPad? "Because of two reasons. One, we have a parent working for Apple and, two, the iPad2 has the best applications," Lulla said. "We moved from blackboards to interactive boards and from there to laptops and now, it is the iPad2."

She continued, "The games application will be blocked in school when a child enters with the iPad2. After we took the decision to bring in the iPad2 earlier this year, we provided training to all our teachers, including me."

Acknowledging that a few are not in favour, Lulla said, "There are only 5-10 per cent of parents who do not want the iPad2. It is not mandatory and children of parents who do not buy it can learn from interactive boards." 

Expert saysJayant Jain, president of Forum For Fairness in Education and All India Federation of Parent Teacher Association, said, "If the school is so keen to bring in technology, parents should be given a choice to buy any company's tablet. But nowhere did the circular mention this. Nor did it say that parents who do not wish to buy their child an iPad2 could learn from interactive boards. This implies that it is mandatory for all. Also, the parent will have to bear the cost if the child drops and damages the expensive gadget. They are in a learning process, so why can't they be given cheaper tablets which can be updated by the school."

NumbersOn an average, there are 30 students in one class in Podar and each class has four divisions. As such, there are approximately 840 students in the school from grade VI to XII.

December 11, 2011

Delhi schools to hike fee, parents anxious

Tuesday, December 23, 2008, (New Delhi)
Delhi schools continue to give the city sleepless nights. For those whose kids are in good schools, there is a bad news -- the schools want a whopping 30-40 per cent increase in fees by the end of this week.
Parents like Pranjali is getting ready to pay a whole lot more for her children's education. Her son and daughter both attend Modern School, which charges Rs 20,000 per month. And soon, that amount is likely to climb by at least Rs 6,000.

"It is going to be difficult. We have to see from where exactly the money would come? It's so much a burden for a single earner in the family. I can't even get a job at the age of 40.So we have to cut down vacation and outings in the weekend," she said.

All schools in Delhi are expected to announce a substantial hike in fees this week. The Sixth Pay Commission suggested a 50 per cent raise for schoolteachers. A Delhi government committee has been considering that proposal and will give its decision before Friday.

A lot of schools like KR Mangalam World School and Tagore International have already intimated parents about an expected hike in the fee without even getting it approved from the government.
The committee is likely to allow a fee hike of 30-40 per cent. But schools want more.

"This hike will not be enough to pay salaries to teachers. We also have to pay them their arrears since April 2006. Where do we pay them from? The new fees will apply retroactively from September this year," said R C Shekhar, Principal, Gyan Bharati School.

"They should hike it from next year so we also get some time to plan our budget. If this happens, we might have to pull out our children from expensive school to a cheaper one," said Hema Aggarwal, a parent. But that's unlikely to be the consensus in a city where good schools are on every parent's wishlist.

School fee hike: Absence of clear law fuels confusion

MUMBAI: A debate on school fees has been raging in the city for the past few years, with parents protesting against steep hikes and school administrations arguing for them citing rising salaries and expenses. Educationists and parents complain the absence of a clear law on fee regulation has added to the all-round confusion.

After a prolonged period of deliberation, the state government finally began releasing a series of government resolutions (GRs) in late 2010 to implement the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (regulation of collection of fee) Bill, 2011. But on every occasion its instructions were challenged in courts either by private unaided schools or parents.

"Rules mandate that we get the PTA's approval before hiking fees. At the same time, another rule asks us to pay our teachers as per the Sixth Pay Commission and pay them arrears for the past few years," asked Lalitha Hariharan, principal of Rizvi Springfield High School in Bandra (West). "In such a situation, how are schools supposed to generate money?" Many principals said that with no other source of income, schools have to depend on fees to make ends meet.

Over the last two years, there have been many instances where parents protested against schools hiking fees. "It's not just once or twice but time and again. The same schools have been pulled up for increasing their fees. Most times parents are helpless because the schools threaten to expel their children. How is it that the government is not taking any action against such schools?" said Arundhati Chavan, president of the Parent-Teachers' Association United Forum.

"The education department has shown no seriousness in this matter. For years, it caved in to bullying by schools," said Jayant Jain, president of the Forum for Fairness in Education. Jain argued that after filing a PIL against 19 International Baccalaureate (IB) schools last year, the education department did not follow the order given by the Bombay high court. "The court had asked for balance sheets of all 19 schools but the state could only provide three balance sheets. Those documents showed how IB schools make crores in profits every year," he said.

Jain said that his forum would file a fresh PIL next week against 50 schools for charging capitation fees and for commercialisation of education.

October 10, 2011

Message to Parents from President's desk

Dear Parents,

Today , 10th October, school is closed without any intimation. Many parents as well as children had to face some unpleasant situations and inconvenience. I would like to share few of my thoughts with you all.

1. Why are primary schools made part of this Agitation ? 
2. Are we being bullied or are we getting scared to call a spade a spade ? 
3. Today we are consumers and we are buying education, as this school management is not providing us any free service, can't we demand for consumer protection ? 
4. Can we just call for one EGBM and disscuss about way forward ?

all the above for parents.

coming to Primary students who are getting disturbed for no reason, what is happening to them.

1. All of them slowly drifting away from study mode to play mode, as every day is uncertain .
2. They are terating this as a joke and not paying any attention to syllabus or exams .
3. Can they really copeup with lost 45 days of education due to bandhs ? is it really possible for any kid to complete lost 45 days of education in remaining 3 months, which means chew more than one can swallow.

So, Parents time to raise our voice, for a change this time this is more of social.

I am proposing to meet near school on 12th Morning at 8:00 AM to discuss about this and may be we can present Memorandum to CM/Education Minister and also High court.

Jai Ho,

October 09, 2011

Parents protest arbitrary fee hike in private schoools

New Delhi, October 09, 2011
Hundreds of people on Sunday held a demonstration outside Rajghat to protest "arbitary" fee hike by private schools in the national capital. The protest rally was organised by the All India Parents Association (AIPA) where the participants underlined the need to reform school education in the country.

The protesters demanded initiation of criminal proceedings against the 25 private school in the capital which were indicted by the CAG recently.

"The AIPA has also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking an effective central law to check arbitrary fee hike in unaided private schools as well as for upgrading all government schools to the level of central schools," a statement from AIPA said.

In the letter, AIPA demanded a Central Law to check arbitrary fee hike in unaided private schools and upgrading of all government schools to the minimum level of central schools.

June 29, 2011

Child rights violations rampant

ASHOK AGARWAL, a Senior Advocate practising in the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court, has been litigating for the right of education, primarily for those belonging to the weaker sections of society. In fact, even before the actual enactment of the Right to Education Bill, he had campaigned forcefully among policymakers to reinforce the link between out-of-school children and child labour. He was involved in several rounds of discussions along with educationists in the formulation of the RTE Bill. While he considers the RTE Act to be a momentous step, he also feels that there is a need for a fundamental change in the manner in which the Central and State governments view the right to education.

Excerpts from an interview he gave Frontline:

It has been close to two years since the RTE Act was legislated by Parliament and one year since the rules were framed. You have been involved right from the beginning in the campaign to bring in a law to make education a right and to get the Act implemented by both private and government schools. What has been your experience so far?

The whole problem is that governments have never been serious and sincere about the education of the children of the masses. Except for lip service, there has been no substantial change in the attitude of governments. Problems like child labour, lack of physical and academic infrastructure in schools, [the issue of] good-quality education, teachers' absenteeism, dropping out by students, availability of schools within the reach of children, education of children with disabilities, among other things, have not yet been addressed despite the enactment of the law. One important thing has certainly happened: a lot of propaganda by the government machinery has led to a tremendous demand for education by parents and children.

However, on the supply side the government has failed utterly to meet the same. This has led to multifarious litigation on the basis of the rights arising out of the Act. Further, a total absence of provisions on accountability in the Act has made it shallow. In such a situation, the only hope is for the masses to force governments by individual as well as united means to implement the Act in its true letter and spirit.

The demand for a common school system has not been met still. Many educationists and social scientists believe that this would be a right step not only for making education equitable but also in the larger interests of a more equitable society. Do you think that the Act is a step forward in this direction?

I do think that the Act is a step forward in the direction of a common school system. But it undoubtedly suffers from some serious lacunae that contradict the principles of a common school system. For instance, “specified categories of schools” contemplated in the Act only perpetuate the ongoing discriminatory system of education with public funding.

With education being largely in the private sector and with more and more private schools coming up, is it going to be difficult to get the Act implemented in the interests of those who are getting left out of the school system?

Fortunately, government schools still cater to a large majority of school-age children. Moreover, government schools are the only hope for the children of the masses. Private schools, in law, are the extended hands of the government and are obliged to fulfil the constitutional goals. Therefore, if private schools are appropriately regulated by law keeping in mind the constitutional objectives, I do not see any harm in the growth of more private schools. The implementation of the Act largely depends upon those who are responsible for its implementation.

Many State governments have not framed the rules, and where they have framed rules, they are inadequate. What has been your experience? Is getting the Act implemented in the private sector more challenging or is it equally difficult in government schools?

Many State governments have woken up suddenly to formulate the rules. Many States have not framed the rules yet, and many others are still pondering over them. The rules are not only inadequate, but some of the provisions therein even violate the provisions of the Act. There is a bright side, too. Where State governments have involved civil society in the process of framing the rules, there has been a greater understanding of the issues involved. The implementation of the Act is equally difficult in government schools. One of the biggest reasons is that the persons running these schools are not sending their own children to government schools, and, therefore, they are not interested in the education of the children attending these schools.

Have private, unaided schools got off easily under the provisions of the Act? Many feel that the 25 per cent reservation provided for students of the weaker sections is arbitrary, that it could be have been more, and that there should be restrictions on the fees charged by private schools. There is also this notion that while teacher-pupil norms are prescribed for government as well as private schools, other norms relating to infrastructure and teaching workload are only for unaided schools.

The Act deals with unaided schools in a very limited manner. There is a need to have a comprehensive central law dealing with all the aspects of unaided schools, which include regulation of fee and other charges and adequate representation of parents in the school management committees. The Law Commission of India had recommended that it should be 50 per cent, but to begin with it could be 25 per cent. I wish and hope that this percentage goes up to 100 per cent to make the constitutional mandate of free education to all a reality. The minimum norms prescribed for a school in the Act is equally applicable to both private and government schools.

As one who has been continuously involved in the fight to get this right realised, do you think that the executive is withdrawing from its responsibility and that without a court order, most governments may not even implement the legislation?

It is correct. Inaction on the part of the executive to perform its constitutional and statutory duties forces the aggrieved to resort to avoidable litigation.

The common man is unable to provide quality school education to his/her child because on the one hand, government schools by and large lack basic physical and academic infrastructure and suffer from mismanagement, which results in inferior quality of education, and, on the other, the “good quality” unaided private schools mercilessly exploit parents and students by subjecting them to arbitrary, unjust and exorbitant fees and other charges. In other words, the common man is the victim of a purely state-designed situation.

The apex court has again and again reaffirmed the law of the land that capitation fee, charging of exorbitant fees, profiteering, commercialisation of education and exploitation of parents/students by unaided private schools are impermissible in law and the government has not only the powers but also the duty to regulate fees and other charges in these schools to prevent commercialisation of education.

However, the issue is that there is the total absence of a legal framework in the country to control and regulate unaided private schools in the matter of fees and other charges. The only exception is the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009, but it is limited to the State of Tamil Nadu.

Parents and students all over the country have been agitating against the governments' failure to curb the commercialisation of education in unaided private schools. The need of the hour is to have a central law to regulate fees and other charges in unaided private schools throughout the country, maybe on the lines of the Tamil Nadu Act.

The Constitution of India mandates the state to provide free and compulsory good-quality elementary education to all children up to the age of 14. It may be kept in mind that this fundamental right is an independent right of every child of this country and does not depend upon the socio-economic status of the parents. It is submitted that unaided private schools are only the extended hands of the state and, therefore, they are also obliged to provide free education to schoolchildren. Unfortunately, such a constitutional mandate has remained elusive.

On the other hand, students and parents are being virtually looted by greedy school managements under the patronage of governments. Thus, child rights violation is a rampant feature here.

May 28, 2011

Centre plans ban on capitation fee

BANGALORE: The Centre has announced bringing in a comprehensive legislation banning schools and intermediate colleges from collecting capitation fee, publishing false or misleading advertisements and accepting admission fee without receipt.

The proposed legislation — The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Schools and Intermediate Colleges Bill, 2011 — will be first discussed during the Central Advisory Board of Education meeting on June 7 in New Delhi. Designed on the lines of a similar legislation that bans unfair practices among technical and medical institutions, the HRD ministry has decided to extend it to from primary up to senior secondary level.

The legislation aims at promoting transparency through mandatory self-disclosure in the prospectus and school websites. Information regarding physical, academic and facilities relating to quality of education should be mandatorily published by schools and adhered to. Schools will be liable to refund fee deposited by a student if the admission is withdrawn by a student.

April 16, 2011

New Act to regulate private school fees

HYDERABAD: The state government has decided to come out with a new Act that would prevent private schools from increasing their fees every academic year. K Parthasarathi, minister for secondary education , announced on Thursday that following the example of Tamil Nadu, the state government was thinking of enacting an Act that would regulate the fees in private institutions in the state.

The Act will also lay out rules that will have to be followed by the secondary education department while granting recognition to private schools. The state's initiative for the new Act is part of the mandate of the Right to Education (RTE) Act that stipulates new legislation to control private schools. Also, a high court order issued in 2010 had directed the department to come up with fresh rules of fee regulation.

The government had a year ago issued an order (GO Ms No: 91) regulating the fee structure. However, private schools secured the high court stay on the GO. The court, however, in August last year directed the school education department to form new rules from 2011-12 academic year.

Toeing the example of Tamil Nadu, AP wants to enact a new Act to regulate fees in private schools The new Act will lay down rules for recognition of schools too AP's initiative is part of the mandate of the Right to Education Act Last year, AP tried to regulate the fees, but school managements secured a stay from the HC The court asked the state to form new rules from the 2011-12 academic year Child rights NGOs want the new rules to be enforced across the board, including corporate and international schools

Parents welcome govt's move to check fee hike
Hyderabad: The government's move to come out with a new Act to prevent private schools from increasing fees every academic year, has brought new hope to parents wary of the annual hike.

"The court had directed the school education department to come out with new rules as the old GO was issued in a hurry and had several flaws. If the government is planning to come out with new regulations before the commencement of the next academic year, many parents will be relieved," said Kamal Malliramani, member, Hyderabad School Parents Association (HSPA). According to HSPA records, several city schools have already hiked their fee structure by 10 per cent to 50 per cent for the coming academic year. "If a new legislation is put in place, there will be some amount of fear among private schools and unjustified fee-hike might stop," said Malliramani.

HSPA said the state government should force the schools to make their fee structure a public document like in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, private school managements said that they would welcome the move only if fee regulation is introduced across the board. "No schools including international and corporate schools should be exempted from regulation," said Srinivas Reddy, convener, Recognised Schools' Managements' Association.

Some child rights NGOs, however, said the government should also introduce provisions regulating the salaries of teachers in the new Act. "The Act should be aimed at regulating private schools and not just focus on fee structure," said Achuyta Rao, president, child rights NGO, Bala Sangham .

April 08, 2011

Minutes of today's meeting with school (DPS Secunderabad)

Brief of discussions with school today morning

1. It has been confirmed by school that the fee structure stands at the amount as per the circular sent by school. Detailed structure would be circulated on Monday through the children, valid for academic year 2011-12.

2. School has consulted 2 Parents few months back. as per them, to take a decision on fee hike. It has been questioned as to who has decided & on what basis these Parents were approved ! This shows the mean attitude of management towards Parents & high headedness of management. Compliance to requirement is one & acceptance of managemnet on Parents demands is the other. First one gives short term gains but the second one would give a longterm gains to school management, teachers, students & parents.

3. Due date to pay the 1st term fee is now extended to 20th April, 2011. Parents request is to extend it to 15th May, 2011 incontinutation to the request put forward for the past 2years for the reason, Parents get into tight financial situations due to Financial Year closing in March (due to payments of various taxes). We await school's confirmation on this. 

April 02, 2011

Yesterday morning, we had about 50 parents coming in to meet the school & demand for the reason as to why they decided to hike the tuition fee by 50%. Above letter has been submitted. The following points were discussed

1. Tuition fee across classes has gone up by 50%
School says as per the new fee structure, school has merged all headers under which fee was being charged by school till last year. Hence all fee would be only tuition fee & is payable in 3 terms. Effective hike is 15% & school would give a circular to this regards, after consultation with management.

2. Copy of the circular released by CBSE to all schools was give & we did demand as to why school management took uni-lateral decision with consulting Parents, as in the circular ? Explanation has been sought by us from management.

3. School is an important element in our children's growth. Many of  the Parents are the experts in many fields & can share their experiences with children, thereby helping them & the school as well. This has been a demand by many of the Parents, to involve them in the over all development of school. We demanded for a open house where in we can come out with many constructive idea's to better school in every parameter.

4. We demanded for upkeep of toilets etc as its very important aspect in hygiene of children. Its school's responsibility that they ensure the toilets are clean & hygienic.


March 30, 2011

CAG report exposes greediness of Private schools.

We've believed & have been vocal in many forums that most school are practising schooling as money minting business, run under the societies act & accredited to many bodies with almost no compliance to any of the clauses of the laws.

We've been raising our voice & did see some support from Government as well as High Court, but lost out in the confusion there upon. New academic session is starting in next few months/weeks, all schools have raised the fee for the next academic session without any proper reasoning nor fear of anyt one.

CBSE on 22nd Feb, 2011 has released a circular to all its affiliated schools across India clearly stating that they can't hike fee's at their whims & fancies, but follow the process. Who would ever say any legitimate raise in fee is a hike ? We're only objecting to the practises being followed by greedy managements hiking fee's for no reasons, just to fill in their bags !

Click below & read the CAG report for your self, which talks about the audit findings on schools in NCR reagion. Mind its no different else where in India.

When Tamil nadu government went ahead on defining the school fee, school wise after audit, similar findings were found. They went ahead unlike any other State Government & dictated the fee schools need to collect. This was done with no intrusion to a private enterprise, but to make sure schooling is not commercialised. This was the very basis on which our High Court upheld the order in favour of GoAP & Parents last August. Today there are many such cases pending with HC or State Governments in Maharastra, Goa, Haryana, UP, Uttaranchal, MP etc states across India.

Time for us to demand what is right or in pure commercial terms "what is true value of money we're paying for". Mind you, we're not demanding out of greed or frustration but to make sure the education (basic right of a child) is within the reach of common man in India - today, tomorrow & fr ever.

Your support alone can make this happen.
Demand for what is right for your children
Join, Spread & Raise your voice !

March 29, 2011

Lets gather in large numbers on
1st April, 2011 @ 7.45AM
infront of DPS Secunderabad to protest on the
50% hike in tuition fee. 

Protest on 50% hike in tuition fee

Lets gather in large numbers on
1st April, 2011 @ 7.45AM
infront of DPS Secunderabad to protest on the
50% hike in tuition fee. 

March 21, 2011

Enrolment in primary schools plunges 2.6 million in 2 years

MUMBAI: It is a lesson in misplaced enthusiasm. While the Centre has been busy tom-tomming its efforts to send more children to school, enrolment in primary classes across the country has, in actuality, dropped since 2007. Between 2008-09 and 2009-10, enrolment in classes I to IV in Indian schools dropped by over 2.6 million.

The biggest setback was witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, where admissions plummeted by over a million in the last two years, according to the latest data released by the ministry of human resource development.

The slide in national figures began between 2007-08 and 2008-09 and became, ironically, steeper between 2008-09 and 2009-10, when the Centre cleared the Right to Education Act making education a fundamental right.

After years of ignoring the worrying statistics, the central government has finally decided to wake up and take action. It recently pulled up state governments and demanded reasons for the decline in numbers.

Most large Indian states, including Maharashtra, have seen student numbers come down in classes I to V, though Assam has been one of the biggest offenders.

"This definitely cannot be just a demographic change. In fact, in Uttar Pradesh, enrolment has come down in just about seven to eight districts. The state government has been alerted and it is investigating what went wrong," said R Govinda, vice chancellor of the National University of Education Planning and Administration. Experts are at a loss to accurately explain the drop in enrolment in northern states, where birth rates have essentially remained the same. In some southern states, where population planners had predicted a slowdown in birth rate, primary school enrolments have unsurprisingly declined.

In other states like Delhi, Tamil Nadu and in the northeast, the figures have begun to plateau. In Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, the struggle stems from ground-level problems like data keeping, children moving out, introduction of new schools and rationalization of data, said Madhav Chavan, the founder of educational non-profit group Pratham.

March 19, 2011

Notices issued to 25 pvt schools indicted by CAG, DoE tells HC

New Delhi, Mar 18 (PTI) The Directorate of Education (DoE) of Delhi government today told the Delhi High Court that notices were issued to 25 unaided private schools here following their indictment by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for accounting malpractices including faking the loss.

"We (DoE) have already issued notices to 25 erring schools," the counsel, appearing for the schools'' regulator, told a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Sidhharth Mridul said.

The DoE said the show cause notices were issued in pursuance of the CAG''s report relating to financial year of 2006 to 2009.

Meanwhile, Ashok Aggarwal, counsel for the ''Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh'', sought an investigation by an agency like CBI into the irregularities pointed out by the CAG in the report.

"The CAG reports reveals not only several accounting malpractices but commission of criminal offences. Some agency like CBI be asked to investigate into it," Aggarwal said.

Advancing the arguments, he said "as the new academic year is about to commence, the schools, which faked the loss, be restrained from raising fee as it is next to impossible to get it (hike) rolled back. Now, it is established that they are earning profits."

January 19, 2011

As govt sits on HC order, schools in city hike fee

Hyderabad: The academic year 2011-12 could leave a bigger hole in the pockets of city parents as schools are expected to hike fee, with the high court directive on regulation of fees in private schools gathering dust with the government. Several schools are gearing up to announce a 10-50 per cent fee hike from the coming academic year.

While several schools have already communicated to the parents their fee hike decision orally hike, others like Meridian have even sent out circulars. Chirec and others have gone a step ahead and uploaded their revised fee structure on their websites. This even as the school education department is sitting on the court directive to monitor fee hike.

Parents rue that the state government has failed to keep its p ro m - ise of checking undue rise in the fee structure. “The GO Ms No 91 was challenged in the court by parents and the judge ruled in our favour. Though the school education department was given the complete responsibility of keeping tabs on the fee, orders were not followed even three months after the judgment,” said Kamal Malliramani, member, Hyderabad Schools Parents Association (HSPA).

According to parents, the new admissions to some schools for the 2011-12 academic year have been done as per the revised fee. “In HPS Nacharam and Mahendera Hills the fee structure for new admissions is 25 per cent higher than that of the previous years. And the schools have orally communicated to the parents the decision to increase the fee for old students by 40 to 50 per cent,” said M Ravi Kumar, a member of HSPA.

'Move to hike school fee should be checked now’
Officials of the school education department said they would act on the court’s order before the beginning of the next academic year. Parents said this should be done before March when schools would announce their new fee structures.

Schools on their part say there is nothing amiss in the fee hikes announced for the next academic year. “Since there has been no follow up of the court order, we are well within our rights to take the approval of the school managing committee and increase the fee. If parents have a problem, they can directly approach the school,’’ said Usha Reddy, principal, Meridian School.

As per the court orders issued on August 2010, the fee structure of the schools had to be decided by the director of school education. The order further stated that the fee structure decided by the DSE would not be raised for a period of three years. The state government was also asked to emulate the Tamil Nadu government’s policy where the fee structure of every school was systematically audited.

Meanwhile, apart from the fee hike, schools seem to have also found other ways of filling their coffers. The so-far optional mess facility has now become compulsory the annual charges for which are Rs 14,000. In some schools bus facility is a must for all students whether they need it or not.According to parents, the total fee hike across schools is expected to range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.
Andhra Jyothy | 18th January, 2011 || Hyderabad Edition | Page 5

January 06, 2011

Principals may face jail for fee hikes

MUMBAI: Schools hiking fees unreasonably could face stringent punishment. Apart from de-recognition, representatives on its management committee could face imprisonment and a fine. The state school education department is finalizing a draft of the proposed legislation meant to regulate fee hikes.

The government is keen to introduce the legislation after complaints against schools regarding exorbitant fee hikes. The state government had introduced a government resolution (GR) in July 15 last year. Last September, it was set aside by the Bombay high court, saying schools could decide fees.

Contending that the court ruling against it was on technical grounds, the government decided to introduce legislation to regulate fee hikes. An expert panel was set up to study the regulatory mechanism in place in Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. The panel studied court judgments and rulings in relation to the case.

On the basis of its inputs, the department formulated a draft for the proposed legislation. Even as it is being given final touches, senior department officials shared light on the draft`s basic structure.

Similar to the Tamil Nadu model, the state plans committees headed by retired judges to regulate hikes. While managements can fix school fees, a hike will have to be ratified by the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA). If the latter finds it unreasonable, it could approach a committee, which will be divisional or district-level. The committee, comprising a retired judge, an official from the school board, and another person, will decide on the reasonability of the hike.

Faujiya Khan, minister of state for school education, said the draft was yet to be finalized.