September 09, 2013

Curbs on franchisee schools welcomed

HYDERABAD: The Central Board of School Education (CBSE) has restricted schools from entering into monetary transactions with their franchisees, a move welcomed by parents across the city.
Several schools including various branches of Delhi Public Schools, DRS and Edify are parent institutions of many franchisee schools. The franchisee school pays a certain sum to the parent institution for using its name, logo and motto and the money is collected as part of the students' fees. The parent institution in turn, helps in setting up of the franchisee school but usually has no say in its internal management.
Following the CBSE's decision last week, parent institutions will now need to have an official record stating that they are not in any sort of transactional agreement with a franchisee school.
"We have been trying to protest against this monetary transaction between schools for a long time now as the burden of such an arrangement is borne by the parents, which is unacceptable. The move by the central board will help in making the education system more transparent," said Dr Shanth Kumar Goel, president of AP Parents' Association.
Many franchisee schools under the same parent institution have different fee structure."A school under the same brand name charges differently depending on its location. This sort of education is elitist and discriminatory," said Prasanth Kumar, parent of a four-year-old.
Despite an exorbitant fee structure, franchisee schools have a huge demand amongst parents who expect that these schools will provide the best education to their children. However, course curriculum between franchisee schools and parent institutions differs in most cases. "One look at the course curriculum at many of these schools will show the poor quality of education that is being imparted," Goel said.

February 14, 2013

Karnataka HC: All children in private school must get free education

In an order having far-reaching consequences, the Karnataka High Court has held that all students aged between six and 14 in private schools are eligible for free education and not just those from poor families gaining admission under a 25 per cent quota fixed by the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

In an interim order on a batch of petitions on Tuesday, Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh said Article 21A of the Constitution guaranteed free and compulsory education to all children in that age group.

The State government should reimburse the fees charged by private schools, he ruled. To arrive at a reasonable fee for reimbursement, , the Education Department should organise a seminar with the stakeholders on March 10.

“It is for the State and Central governments to work out the fee that has to be paid by children in the age group 6-14 and to see that proper arrangements are made to indemnify the institutions concerned on behalf of the children,” the judge said.

While some petitions claimed free education under Article 21A, others complained about the demand made by private schools for a fee in excess of the amount prescribed under the Karnataka Education Act. Private institutions had filed petitions questioning certain provisions in the Right to Education Act and the rules.

As for admissions made in 2012-13, the court directed the private institutions not to prevent students who are agitating over the fee structure from attending classes or tests. They should approach the State government seeking reimbursement of the fee to be paid by these students.

The court asked the Education Department to discuss at the seminar what would be the reasonable fees with representatives of private institutions, associations of teachers and parents, the Indian Council of Secondary Education and the Central Board of Secondary Education. The authorities should discuss the complaints of teachers that unaided and minority institutions were not paying pay scales fixed.

Based on the outcome of the deliberations, Justice Ramesh said, the Union and the State governments can take policy decisions on reimbursement of fee and earmark funds. The Court adjourned the hearing till April 16 and directed the two governments to submit a report based on the outcome of the seminar.

February 13, 2013

Public school turns out to be fake; owner arrested

Hyderabad: Will the real DPS please stand up? After Rajeev Gandhi International Airport police arrested the managing partner of a ‘fake’ school located at Shamshabad on Tuesday, questions are being raised about how many such fake schools are thriving in the city.

According to officials at the District Education Office, Rangareddy, the management of the school in question, named Delhi Public School (DPS), had not submitted the required documents before opening the school last year and the incident came to light now following complaints lodged by some parents.

Officials reported that around 253 such unrecognized schools existed across the city which have not submitted proper documents like lease deed, infrastructure particulars, traffic NOC etc. Moreover, officials added that in some cases, school managements even submit fake documents in a bid to cash in on the booming business of education here. “Last month, we booked cases against six city schools which had submitted fake traffic NOCs to us,” said A Subba Reddy, district education officer, Hyderabad.

Officials, however,said there were no immediate plans to crackdown on all the unrecognized schools. The only action being taken against them is barring its students to appear for the class X board examinations. These schools, however, manage the issue by enrolling their students as private candidates for the examination, but some face a bleak future. The arrested in the case of DPS Shamshabad has been identified as Syed Farooq Hussain of Bahadurpura. In June 2012, Farooq along with Subhash Chandra Bose and MA Nazeeb of Bahadurpura opened two schools under the name ‘Delhi Public School’ in Shamshabad and Attapur.

According to police, several parents enrolled their students at both these schools thinking that they are branches of popular Delhi Public School chain. In the school’s Shamshabad branch, currently 140 students are enrolled and at Attapur branch there are over 200 students, police said.

It was not immediately clear what would be the fate of these students, but officials said other than getting admitted in a recognized school there was no way out. For the last four months, the accused reportedly stopped paying salaries to teachers and they stopped taking classes. On February 8, the accused locked the school at Shamshabad and switched off their phones, they also stopped visiting the Attapur branch.

Suspecting foul play, one of the parents, Ashok God, lodged a complaint with the RGI Airport police against the school management on February 9. “After the complaint was lodged, we cross-checked about the school with the Mandal Education Officer (MEO) and then we realised that the school does not have recognition from any authorized body. The MEO told us that they have issued three notices to the school management for operating the institution without obtaining proper permission from the government,” RGI Airport SI M Kasi Viswanath said.

Based on the complaint, police booked a case under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC against the three managing partners of the school. Police said the accused had collected hefty amounts from the parents at the time of admissions. Acting on a specific alert, police arrested one of the accused, Syed from his house in Bahadurpura on Tuesday. During the interrogation, Syed told police that it was his associate Bose’s idea to use the popular brand name Delhi Public School to attract parents. He was produced before the court and remanded in judicial custody. A man hunt has
been launched to nab the other accused.

Times of India | Hyderabad | 13th February, 2013 | Page2

February 01, 2013

School cabs to go yellow with green stripe

BANGALORE: Contract carriage vehicles ferrying children to schools should be painted yellow with a horizontal 150-mm stripe in green colour in the middle all round them. The vehicles should prominently display the words "school cab" on all four sides.

These are some of the conditions laid out by the commissioner for transport and road safety for operating contract carriage vehicles that ferry schoolchildren. The directive cites a Supreme Court order on safety of schoolchildren and a state government notification dated January 18, 2013.

Vehicles plying schoolchildren should have a contract carriage permit issued under Section 74 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, the commissioner said.

Seating capacity must not exceed 13, including driver. The authority said that a speed governor with maximum speed of 40 kmph should be fitted to the vehicle. Also, the vehicle should not be over 15 years old from the date of initial registration. While the driver must have a valid licence for a period of at least four years, there should be sufficient space for school bags inside the vehicles.

The closed body type and hard top vehicles should have a complete register of children in the cab, including their name, class, residential address, contact phone/ mobile number, blood group, route plan etc.

The commissioner has asked all heads of schools/ school committees and private vehicles operators providing transport facility to schoolchildren to strictly adhere to the conditions.

* 'School cab' must be written on all sides of vehicle
* Authorized LPG kits to be certified. No seats over LPG tank
* No tinted windows; doors must have reliable locks
* Display name, address/phone number of permit holder on rear of cab

January 15, 2013

Parents cry foul as Hyderabad schools hike fees

HYDERABAD: The admission season is just beginning and several schools in the city have already announced up to15% hike in their fee structure. While about a dozen top schools which are currently charging fee between Rs 45,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh have hiked the tuition charges by 5 to 15%, parents associations in the city are demanding the state government to control unjustified hike in fee.

Some of the schools which have increased the fee this year are those which had implemented a fee hike last year too. Hyderabad Schools Parents' Association (HSPA) will petition the state government if unjustified fee hikes are not monitored, HSPA representative said. Parents said that the schools which have hiked the fee include Delhi Public School and Oxford. More schools could announce their hikes in the next month, parents predicted.

The parents associations in the city pointed out that the state government had promised them in 2011 that fee hike in schools will be monitored to prevent any additional financial burden on them. The government had decided to come up with a new act to prevent private schools from increasing fees every academic year.

When asked about the laxity in implementing the act, K Parthasarathi, minister for secondary education said that following the example of Tamil Nadu, the state government will enact the act before the commencement of the next academic year. 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 court had directed the school education department to come out with new rules as the old GO (Ms No 91) 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, a member HSPA.

According to HSPA records, several city schools have already hiked their fee structure by 10% to 15% 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.