Private schools in the city routinely lie about the money they get in the form of school fees, documents obtained through the Right to Information Act have revealed.
According to RTI replies, schools have been lying about the number of students they admit each year in the annual returns and related documents they file with the Directorate of Education (DoE).
In a large number of cases, schools have not given any details about the admissions done in nursery and kindergarten and have lied about the number of students in class 1.
This means that while schools are getting more money in the form of fees, they are reporting only a fraction of it and transferring the rest to another account.
A school, for example, had 150 students in class 1 in 2012-13 according to the undertaking filed by it but its annual returns said it had only 43. The school misreported the actual number of students even in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Every year, schools have to submit a copy of their income tax returns to the DOE. In a separate communication on a different date, the directorate had also asked schools to submit an undertaking about the number of students they admitted in pre primary and primary classes.
This is where the trouble for schools began. Even though schools have submitted both documents, the returns have a considerably lesser number of students as compared to the undertaking.
While this means that schools are hiding their real income from fees, it also means that schools have hiked annual fee by giving false information.
A school’s fee structure is decided by a variety of things, of which its annual income is a major part. If a school shows les income, it means they can ask for a bigger fee increase. A healthy bank account means no fee increase of a marginal increase.
After a complaint was made, the Directorate of Education issued a show cause notice to five schools n March 9 asking them to explain their stand. The directorate has also asked other schools to make sure such discrepancies are not seen in the future.
“This matter came to us and after going through the documents we realised that there was a problem. We have given schools a chance to explain their stand. Once we hear them out, a decision will be reached,” said Padmini Singla, director, education.
Activists, however, feel that just a show-cause notice is not enough.
“This data was with the directorate throughout but no one ever looked at it. A thorough inquiry needs to be launched. This is a scam of considerable proportions, especially since there are over 1,000 schools in the city,” said Khagesh Jha, who is the complainant.