Reader’s Take: ‘Private schools should make spends public’

Any private institute working for its students’ welfare and not interested in ‘profiteering’ from education should not worry about uploading its balance sheets on websites, say Chandigarh residents
Parents protest in Chandigarh against fees charged by a private school during the lockdown period.(Ravi Kumar/HT Photo)
Parents protest in Chandigarh against fees charged by a private school during the lockdown period.(Ravi Kumar/HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 27, 2020 12:15 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByHT Correspondent

Disclosing accounts should be mandatory

There appears to be no plausible reason for schools not to withhold this piece of information from those who are spending a major chunk of their earnings on their wards’ education. It should be made mandatory for the school management to share the requisite information so that nothing remains under wraps.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

No fee structure prescribed

I don’t think putting a balance sheet online will serve any purpose because there is no fee structure prescribed by the administration for these schools, which are definitely making profits. If the administration is so concerned, it can pass an administrative order regarding payment of fee during lockdown.

Prof Dr Arun Bhardwaj

Schools not getting land for free

The contention of the administration that since the schools are built on government land they are bound to follow its directions is unfair. The administration allots government land on concessional rates and not free as given to Central government organisations, hospitals, temples and gurdwaras etc. Secondly, uploading of the accounts amounts to breach of privacy. Why should it be open to everyone to see? School accounts must have been audited. If the administration is still not satisfied let a high power committee of learned luminaries, chartered accountants of repute, academics and judges be appointed to investigate every two years. Perhaps this may bring in the cherished transparency and accountability. Teachers, the backbone of the schools should be respected and not used as consumable articles.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Schools are not profit-making entities

I am of the considered view that schools must put their balance sheets online to curb the practice of making this noble cause a profit-making business. Of course school owners have to make money to meet expenses, but this trend has put private education out of reach of most Indians. Uploading balance sheets online will help the government evaluate the fee structure and make norms more rational.

HL Gupta

Parents need information on school expenditure

What’s the problem with putting balance sheets in public domain? Private players are running schools as a corporate entity for business purpose to make profits. Parents who are paying fees and other hidden charges have every right to information on the income and expenditure of the school to justify the high fees. As a private school education is a full-fledged business, it is mandatory to file the balance sheet as per company law so that public interests are not exploited. Many schools have been getting grants from the government but do not maintain records and also charge a high fee from parents.

Anil Vinayak

Private schools will start compromising on quality

Asking schools to make their expenditure public is not the right step as private schools are running for profit to provide quality education and better facilities. But once the administration starts checking balance sheets and day-to-day expenses of the school they will start compromising with the quality of study of the child on the one side and on the another side start reducing expenses on the grooming and safety of the children. People in the high income category, such as bureaucrats and businesspersons, send their children to private schools. If they think the fee is high then they should put their children in government schools which the bureaucrats run anyway. Yes, maybe the private schools can waive off some fees which they have not spent during the Covid-19 lockdown. Otherwise, fee should be deposited by parents.

Avinash Goyal

School passing on expenses to parents

Most schools work for profit, and some do not even follow Central Board of Secondary Education guidelines strictly. Some schools pack 45 to 50 students, putting a burden on parents. Many such schools have an annual income of about 8 crore to 12 crore. One finds it difficult to understand how they claims they don’t have money payment to release the salary of their teachers and non teaching staff. They want to pay back their schools’ loan by passing on the burden to parents who are suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic

KK Bijoy, Chandigarh

No hidden agenda, please

There should not be any hidden agenda while publishing a school’s balance sheet in the public domain by private institutions as it is evident that they are making good profits. Acres of land have also been provided to the private institutions at subsidised rates by the administration since long .

Sreenivasan AP

Schools should be asked to keep reserve funds

Parents believe schools should tap their reserves to pay teachers ,while they are exempted from paying fees.Every school must by law have some reserve funds.These should be put to use judiciously to constantly upgrade and improve educational facilities,which is the school’s prime purpose. Not paying fees and draining the schools of their reserves will, in the end,impact the quality of education being provided to our children.

Nina Mimani

Parents have a right to know about school expenses

The Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown has made it difficult for some of us parents to keep paying the high fee charged by parents. Our children are not using the school buildings, electricity,water, library and computers. Why are we being asked to pay the full fee? All we are asking is that we should pay the basic costs to run the school, but the authorities ave merged all the fee heads into tuition fee. Their plea is that they don’t have funds to pay the salaries of watchmen and gardeners. So we have every right to see the balance sheets to find out whether they have enough to pay their staff.

Mamta Duvedi

Are local education authorities helping private schools?

Many school managements are holding back teacher’s salaries on the grounds that they do not have money to pay them. However, they seem to have enough money to contest court cases, or hire lawyers. All the public limited companies submit their balance sheets to the statutory authorities and make them public, as per laid down rules. The private limited or registered companies are submitting their audited reports to the Registrar of Companies in their respective states. Private individuals, small shopkeepers, even vendors have to file their income tax returns with their profit and loss statement. So it is really ridiculous, that privately managed and aided schools, which have been built on the land allocated under concessional rates or otherwise, dealing with a large section of public and governed under the rules and regulations of local or state education board, want exemption from putting their balance sheets on their websites. The local education authorities seem to be either in favour of school managements, as their wards are admitted to prime institutes or they are too stupid t realise that the schools are taking advantage of the situation.

Suresh Verma

Govt should step in to help students

These days many people have lost their jobs and are unable to pay their children’s fees. Therefore, the government should take responsibility for all those children so that they can continue their studies. To do this, it is important for the schools to give an accurate idea of children’s school fees. So the government should make it mandatory for schools to upload their accounts on their websites.

Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh.

Uniformity in facilities and fee structure

There should be uniformity in facilities provided by the private schools to students as they charge extra fee under the heads of filtered water, air conditioners, food, language classes or co-curricular activities. The government should regulate private school fees too with a uniform structure across the countries. Similar facilities should be provided in all the private schools and the same fee structure maintained. A tuition fee ceiling and other expenses for annual day and sports day should also be fixed. Uniform salaries should also be paid to teachers. Stress should be laid on quality of education.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Public has every right to scan accounts

The fact that schools are business entities run with fees paid by parents who are deemed financiers, proves beyond doubt that these are funded by the public that earns every right to scan the balance sheets.Land for schools is earmarked at reduced rates by public authorities.Reluctance of school managements to put accounts in public domain gives rise to suspicions. Why should schools not favour transparency and fair play?

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Does every independent body upload account details?

Private schools form an integral part of the society’s education system.Having been granted the right to decide their system of working, why should they be expected to upload their balance sheets? Are they not filing their income tax or is it that every independent body uploads its balance sheet on its website? Why are they not trusted for finances if they can be trusted for the creation of an impeccable future for our coming generations? I don’t think any government school or institution uploads its balance sheets

Aarti Sood

Schools not answerable to all

Balance sheets have been uploaded for the kind perusal of the Central Board of Secondary Education, the administration and the DEO .What is disturbing is that somehow everyone has, all of a sudden,taken the responsibility of questioning the schools. Schools are not answerable to everyone.It is a humble request that people mind their own business and let the authorities concerned do the needful .

Arti Malhotra

Give special concessions to schools

The present situation is extraordinary; the lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 has disrupted life. The administration must give some special concessions to the schools as they are expected to cover the deficit both academically and financially.

Usha Verma, Chandigarh

Stop commercialisation of education

Putting information in the public domain will provide clarity on the deployment of funds . It will lead to orderly growth of education and prevent its commercialisation. One would like to see such models in all educational institutes in the country, but states need to come on board too . The move is also aimed at finding out whether schools are genuinely out of budget to pay salaries of staff as claimed by them when asked to not charge fee from parents during the lockdown. CPA had even written to the education department to ask schools for their balance sheets to see if they were are actually out of money to pay the staff as they had been pleading. Some schools that uploaded their balance sheets showed surplus money in their accounts. The Chandigarh education department should start issuing show-cause notices to the schools who are not putting their balance sheets online.

Vijay Malia, Chandigarh.

Fee waiver must

Balance sheets uploaded on websites will show whether schools are earning profits or are non-profits. This is an emergency and every parent is suffering due to the economic crises resulting from the lockdown. These schools must give fee waiver to parents: Take tuition fees but waive development fee, annual charges, transport fee or computer fee.

Samasya Samadhaan Team, Chandigarh

Transparency, honesty, expected

Schools have been entrusted the task to educate, teach discipline, honesty and morality to students. How can they exempt themselves from those principles and duties? Its an open secret that many of the private schools make exorbitant profits from their fee, which is hiked every year. Many private brands are being run by influential individuals, industrialists, politicians and corporate giants. Some function more like professional business entities and academic mafia with the sole motive to earn money through unethical tactics and profiteering agenda. Parents are forced to buy books sets, uniforms and even stationery from schools or the shop selectively designated by them. How can they resist transparency and accountability when many of them has been provided land by the government at highly subsidised rates? Despite making profits they are making a hue and cry while giving salaries to teachers and staff during the Covid-9 crisis. Many have been accused of harassing parents of wards for fees despite clear directions from government in these testing times. An educational institute is said to be a temple of knowledge with primary aim to teach students and build a better society. There is nothing unethical or illegitimate in sharing account details as schools are also an integral part of the society and have to be responsible to the nation.

Dr Karan Singh Vinayak

Strict RTE enforcement required

The political class is not doing its bit to enforce the Right to Education laws and ensure quality education for children of this city. The directorate of school education in Chandigarh should release a toll-free number or a helpline to register complaints against schools violating the RTE Act. These helplines should keep the callers’ identity under wraps, else their wards will become soft targets for these “education-oriented businesses”. It needs to be noted that over a 100 public schools were under scanner of the DEO for violations of the RTE Act in Chandigarh for various offences last year. A few more are likely to be joining the queue. The education department needs to wake up and take cognisance of institutions making education a ‘profit centre’ like a grocery shop.

Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur

Cancel registrations

It should be strictly / mandatory for the all private schools to upload their balance sheets on their websites and on their school notice board too ever year. Schools that do not comply should have their registrations cancelled

Harpreet Singh

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