Despite the Punjab and Haryana high court order to private educational institutions not to increase fee and other charges, managements of several schools in Ludhiana continue to fleece parents of students by hiking charges at their own sweet will.
The one-time admission fee of all prominent private schools is between Rs. 20,000 and goes up to as high as Rs. 80,000. Several private schools have hiked the fee for kindergarten but are not revealing any information.
However, Rohit Sabharwal, president of Anti-Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell, a city-based NGO, had filed a civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2009 regarding the matter of hike in fee structure by schools every year.
The private schools cannot increase tuition fee till the decision is pending in the high court. Any hike will amount to contempt of court.
Sat Paul Mittal School is charging Rs. 65,000 as admission fee and the institution has hiked the school fee by 10%. This was confirmed by DB Sharma, director of the school.
However, for kindergarten, Sacred Heart Convent is charging Rs. 25,000, which includes quarterly fee. The school has yet not decided about whether they will hike the school fee or not.
Private schools such as BCM Arya Senior Secondary School has hiked the school fee by 7 to 8%; Kundan Vidya Mandir (KVM), Civil Lines, has hiked by 10%; DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, 33%; while Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, hiked by 10%.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Navita Puri, principal of KVM School, Civil Lines, said, "We have hiked the school fee by 10% as we have to give increments to teachers. We have informed the Central Board of Secondary Education, however, for 10% hike we do not need to take permission from the CBSE."
RS Patial, director of DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, said, "We have hiked the school fee for kindergarten and it is a genuine hike. However, for hike in kindergarten classes we do not need to take permission from the CBSE."
Mona Singh, principal of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, said, "We have hiked the tuition fee which is less than 10%. The hike was required to meet our expenses."
Paramjit Kaur, principal of BCM Arya Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, confirmed that they had hiked the fee for kindergarten by 7 to 8% and they do not need to inform the CBSE about it.
HS Mamik, president of Independent School Association, Chandigarh, said, "The decision is pending in the high court and till then private schools cannot hike the fee."
On speaking to a few parents, it was found that they are unaware that private schools cannot hike the fee as the case is reserved in the high court.
Neha Aggrawal, a parent, said, "I am amazed that when we contacted a few private schools to know about the admission procedure for kindergarten they told us about the admission fee and monthly fee. However, we had no idea about the any case reserved in the court."
Another parent Vipul Joshi, said, "I have taken forms of two private schools in the city and none of the schools mentioned about its fee structure on the website. However, when we enquired about the fee from the school counter we get to know that they have hiked it by 10%."
A parent, Balpreet Kaur, said, "Getting my son admitted to a school touted as one of the best in the city has burnt a big hole in my pocket. It cost me more than 50,000 at one go. What pinches me more is that the schools increase the fee by 10 to 15% every year."