Parents Protesting against the fee hike in public schools has become a common sight in Delhi. From staging sit-ins outside schools to blocking highways and getting into scuffles with school officials are all in a day’s protest for parents these days.
“To ensure that parents pay up, many schools have held back report cards, made students write tests while standing and humiliated parents,” said Ashok Aggarwal, advocate and national president of All India Parents Association.
“Let schools share their financial records. Most schools have not even consulted parents while increasing the tuition fees,” said Aggarwal.
Tuition fees and more
Parents complain that along with raising tuition fees and demanding arrears, schools have increased charges like development fee as well.
“The actual hike runs into thousands of rupees. The government has set a limit only on the tuition fee hike but schools are exploiting parents,” said Kamal Arora, parent.
“My child’s school has increased development charges by Rs 3,000, and annual charges by 80 per cent. And they want us to cough up the money immediately,” said another parent on condition of anonymity.
‘No surplus funds’
Schools claim they do not have surplus funds to pay crores of rupees in arrears to teachers.
“Annual charges are spent on the library, maintenance of playground, examination etc, while development charges are the capital expenditure of the school,” said SL Jain, chairperson of National Progressive Schools’ Conference, an association of 100 public schools.
Jain said the Delhi government order asking all schools to get their fee hike ratified by a full general body of the Parent Teacher Association was unfair. “How can we call thousands of parents and ask each one for an opinion? Moreover, we send our balance sheets to the Directorate (of education) every year for examination,” said Jain.
No solution in sight
Parents are demanding a complete rollback of the fee hike. But Education Minister Arvinder Singh is noncommittal on the issue.
“The fee hike suggested by the Delhi government is the minimum in entire India and many states are following our recommendation. Action will be taken against schools that are increasing fees arbitrarily,” said the minister.
(With inputs from Tanya Ashreena)