A committee constituted by the UT education department in April to look into the undue fee hike in private schools is still awaiting replies to a questionnaire uploaded by the education department.
The committee that was constituted in April, to look into undue fee hike in the private schools under the chief justice (retd) RS Mongia, along with a chartered accountant who has been selected by the chairperson himself, and a person from the educational field that has been nominated by the education department had prepared a questionnaire.
The private schools decided to provide the committee only their balance sheets rather than answering the questionnaire. The schools argue that according to the high court order, the schools are supposed to provide their balance sheets only.
"We as representatives of private schools have been regularly sending our school records which the committee is asking for, to the CBSE board and in the order also it has been said that the committee can ask the boards to provide the same," said a member of the Independent Schools Association, requesting anonymity.
This questionnaire includes questions such as asking schools how many classes and sections are being operated, the infrastructure, fees being charged from entry-level, salary of teacher's for different classes and other expenses. But, the most important parameter is the checking of the various record and account books that include all the yearly expenses.
"We will be giving the committee our balance sheets that will be audited after the vacations only because it is not possible to ask the auditors to come during the holidays. The high court itself states that we (schools) need to provide only balance sheet which to the committee. This balance sheet will help them (committee) immensely to decide our expenditure and whether the hike is justified or not," said HS Mamik, president of Independent Schools Association.
The questionnaire had been forwarded to the DPI (schools) UT education department, who has been given the authority by the high court to take decisions in this case.
The questionnaire has been uploaded on the official website of the education department. Mamik said, "Providing so many details is not feasible, we will not be able to give so many details so soon as the summer vacations are on and we cannot write something on our own accord as we will be needing proper information."
Meanwhile, private schools have increased their fees considerably and have also raised a concern for shelling out salary for the committee members for every sitting or meeting has been constituted to be Rs 35,000.
Rs 25,000 will be given to the chairperson while Rs 10,000 will be given to the CA accompanying the chairperson. The committee has also asked fees for the first 10 sittings or meetings in advance.
The committee is supposed to submit a report to the high court, but the time frame has not been framed, although according to the judgment it is six months.
What the judgment says?
According to the judgment, the committee has been constituted to look into the accounts of the schools and find out how reasonable it to is increase the fees by all schools. It is also to ensure that the fees collected by the schools from parents are not being transferred from school funds to the society or the trust which runs the schools.
But, the high court has allowed the schools to increase the fee along with allowing them to charge students up to 50% from the annual tuition fees, a development fund fees. Although the schools can hike the fee, the committee will look into the raise and if it finds the school is over charging the court will ask the schools to reimburse the extra fee charged.