The Delhi Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a decision by private unaided schools in the city to increase tuition fee to help them implement salary hikes of teachers as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission.
The Education Department put forward a five-tier plan for fee hike — putting the lowest fee charging schools in category A and the most expensive city schools under category E. But the government also specified that the fee hike was not mandatory and schools cannot harass Class X and XII students or deny them the right to appear for exams for non-payment or delay in payment of fee or arrears.
“There are just a handful of elite private schools that will probably need to raise their fee by Rs 500. These are schools that already charge above Rs 2,000 per month as tuition fee,” said Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely.
“We have taken the concerns of schools, parents and teachers into account. The fee hike is justified. If somebody pays Rs 2,000 only as tuition fee, it means the cumulative payment he makes to the school per month is about Rs 8,000. If such parents say they find a fee hike of Rs 500 too much, I think it is not justified,” said Lovely.
The government has also ordered the setting up of a grievance committee. “Any school or parent unhappy with the fee hike can approach the committee within a month of the order. We will scrutinise the accounts of the school to see if the hike was valid,” said Lovely.
Private schools, however, have termed the announcement “disappointing”. “A lot of community development programmes in the school will suffer. Moreover, maintenance, technology and keeping abreast with the changing trends in education will also take a back seat,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal Springdales School, Pusa Road.
The National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC), a body of private schools in the Capital, also denounced the decision. “The NPSC met today and all principals were unanimous in their decision that the fee hike is inadequate for implementing the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission,” said S.L. Jain, chairperson of the body.
“We are looking at arrears of 40 months and a salary hike of 50 to 70 per cent. So a fee hike of 20 per cent is not enough. We will give a representation to the Education Department,” said Jain.
The Federation of Schools has threatened to go to court. “The Grievance Redressal Committee is just an eyewash. If this decision is not revised, we will go to court,” said R.P. Malik, federation chairman.