In the backdrop of parents protesting against the fee hike in a number of schools, the state education department has directed schools to discuss any such hike with parents beforehand.
The Gurgaon district education officer has received complaints about fee hike by Salwan Public School in Sector 15, Delhi Public School Ghaziabad (DPSG) in Palam Vihar and Presidum School in Sector 51. Of these, two complaints have been resolved but the complaint against Presidium School is still pending.
Every year, all private unaided schools are supposed to fill out the details of their fee hikes in Form 6 and send it to the education department before December 31. However, 50 private schools in the city have failed to comply with the deadline.
On February 20, a number of parents protested outside Salwan Public School against the fee hike. A month later, parents also protested outside Delhi Public School Ghaziabad (DPSG). After the intervention of the education department, the hike was rolled back by Salwan Public School and directions issued to the DPSG regarding the same.
“We have received complaints from parents against three schools and have resolved complaints regarding two of them. We are investigating the complaints about the third school and will ensure that everything is sorted out soon. We have asked the schools to discuss the fee structure with the parents’ association beforehand,” said Neelam Bhandari, district education officer, Gurgaon.
On Monday, parents also filed a complaint with divisional commissioner D Suresh against the “huge fee hike” by Presidium School. They also complained at the chief minister’s window, deputy commissioner, and with the district education officer.
The parents had also submitted a letter to the deputy commissioner last week stating that the school has been charging approximately Rs43,000 in the name of admission and development charges every year.
Vivek Grover, president, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of Presidium School, said, “Every year, the school increases annual development charges and development charges. We fail to under what is the difference between the two.”
However, school authorities denied that there is any parents association in the school.
“Firstly, there is no parents’ association in our school. Secondly, we have increased the fees reasonably. It is 8-9% when after the seventh pay commission, salaries will increase by 12-13%, including sub arrears. There are only some parents who are creating all the drama, the remaining parents have no issues with the fee hike,” said GS Matharoo, CEO, Presidium school.
According to Haryana School Education Rules 2003 and an amendment in 2007, no school is authorised to charge an annual hike of more than 10%.
Meanwhile, parents of students in Shiv Nadar School have also alleged that the school has increased fees without informing the parents association.
“To me, the dichotomy in intent is the biggest issue. As per the state’s policy, profiteering from education is not allowed, whereas schools often aim at profiteering and expansion. Ideally, the account books of all schools should be available on the website as well as the school reception,” Sunil Pachar, a parent.
Monica Sagar, principal, Shiv Nadar School, said, “The fee hike at Shiv Nadar school accounts for the increase in year-on-year costs due to inflation and quality of programmes offered. This year, the increase is a moderate 13%, which also factors in the increase in teacher compensation due to the seventh pay commission and the arrears.”
Meeting in Panchkula
PK Das, additional chief secretary (school education), has called a meeting on April 5 in Panchkula regarding fees and fund of private schools in Hisar, Ambala, Rohtak and Gurgaon. Sources said the district education officers will be given directions regarding fee hike and the stationery and uniform issues parents face.