For Ajay Bhatia of Janakpuri, taking his daughter out of a private school was a tough decision but one that had to be taken.
Like 92,000 other parents in the Capital, Bhatia has applied for daughter Shivani’s admission in a government school.
“The school fee is up and my income down. I can’t afford it,” the electrical shop owner said.
Most schools have hiked tuition fees citing 6th Pay Commission recommendations.
Last year, the number of parents ready to pull their children out of private schools rose to 52,000, which the Delhi education directorate saw as an indication of the growing popularity of its schools.
The CBSE results may have something to do with the shift in loyalties too. “City private schools have a pass percentage of 86.42 per cent, if foreign schools under Delhi region are kept out. Government schools scored 87.14 per cent,” Education Minister A.S. Lovely said.
“We’ve emerged as an alternative to private schools. Another reason could be the fee hike,” said Delhi principal secretary, education, Rina Ray.
Most parents HT contacted gave two reasons for making the switch — the fee hike and lower income.
“Fee badne se hamara dil toot gaya (I’m disappointed with the hike),” said Anand Soni, an air force technician who pulled both his sons out of a private school. Soni, who earns Rs 16,000 a month, said keeping them there would have meant arranging a lump sum of at least Rs 30,000.
Vinod and Rachna Gupta of Pitampura, too, had to pull their sons Harshit (14) and Kartik (11) out of school as they couldn't afford the fees any more.
"We used to own a plywood shop but it was closed because of the sealing and demolition drive. Now my husband works at a friend's shop as a salesman and the money is not enough," said Rachna.
The couple tried to get relief under the economically weak students category but were told it applied only to new entrants.
"My children have been home for the last three months. They are telling us we will be responsible if they do badly," said Rachna.
She said she was trying to convince her children to start government school but added: "I have to be convinced in order to convince them."