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.