Private schools in Gurgaon have started announcing fee hikes as high as 40 per cent. To be effective from the coming session, the fee hike is being directly attributed to the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission by school authorities. They say hefty increase in salaries of the staff has forced them to hike fees.
The Haryana Government too has said it would not interfere in the fee hike by the schools. It said the schools have the liberty to hike fees if they provide adequate facilities to students.
Parents, meanwhile, have given mixed reaction. Some have favoured the schools’ move and termed the hike as “situational compulsion”, while others have opposed it.
DAV Public School, with over 4000 students in its two wings, has already announced 40 per cent fee hike for the session 2009-2010 citing enormous strain on school’s resources because of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. Other schools like Blue Bells, Salwan, Amity and others would soon follow suit.
“We have already distributed the circular announcing a monthly fee hike of Rs 600 to Rs 700, effective from next session. We have no other option but to go for the hike as we have already increased staff's salaries by 30-70 per cent. This extra financial burden would tell upon the school’s resources and would adversely affect students’ performances if we do not bolster up our finances by raising the fee structure,” said Anita Makkar, principal of DAV Public School.
Almost all schools such as Blue Bells, CCA and Salwan have increased their staff's salaries by 50-60 per cent from October/November.
“The staff salaries have increased significantly by 50-60 per cent after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. Now, we are left with no option but to increase the school fee. We would announce a hike of almost 40 per cent in March for the session starting April this year,” said Suman Gulati, director Blue Bells Public Schools.
Dr. Indu Khetarpal, chairperson of Gurgaon Progressive Schools Council, said the fee hike was almost double last time when the Fifth Pay Commission issued its recommendations. “As a relief to the students, what we have decided now is that the teachers would be made responsible and accountable towards students as well as the school and would be made to put in extra efforts,” said Dr Khetarpal who is also the principal of Salwan Public School.
District education officer Sushila Batra said the schools were free to hike fees if they promised to deliver adequate facilities proportionate to the fee they were charging. “There is no ceiling on the fee rise percentage and the Education department cannot interfere as long as the schools provide facilities commensurate with the fee. The only thing schools are required to do is to intimate our department about the fee hike,” she said.
Rajiv Sharma, commissioner of Gurgaon Municipal Corporation, said he was not aware of any such legislations or bylaws in the Municipal Act, 1994. He said, “I would study the Act to see whether or not we can interfere in the fee hike issue of private schools.”