Could there be another fee hike lurking behind the Right to Education Act?
Private schools in the Capital are now acknowledging the possibility since the Act requires them to reserve 25 per cent seats for students from weaker and disadvantaged sections of the society.
According to the Act, which comes into effect on Thursday, the state government will cover the tuition costs of these students. But the reimbursement will be equal to what the government spends on each child in its own schools or fees charged by the private school, whichever is less.
This, according to the private players, is not enough to meet what they actually spend on each student. So, they will have to foot the bill to parents in shape of a fee hike.
“We have state-of-the art facilities and extra teachers to ensure our children do well. This does not come cheap,” said Bharti Sharma, principal, Amity International School, Saket.
As per government rules, around 400 schools that have received land from the government at subsidised rates have to reserve 15 per cent of their seats for students belonging to the EWS category.
Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar is an example. Principal Madhulika Sen said, “There is a 10 per cent increase for us. We don’t have the funds for 15 per cent coming regularly, so I am sceptical about the 25 per cent.”
“The fee of each student from the new session is going to be Rs 2,800, but the government may not even reimburse half of this. We will be left with no option but to increase the fee.”
Private schools challenged the Act in the Supreme Court in March on the ground that it violated the rights of private educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g).
Parents are not happy. “The recent fee hike and the price rise are bad enough,” said Sushil Kumar, whose children study in a school in Dilshad Garden.
Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said, “After the Act comes into effect from tomorrow, we will hold a meeting with all the stakeholders. But I can assure there is going to be no hike in school fees.”