Delhi government to set up panels to check fee hike in private schools

The government issued a notice on Wednesday asking the district deputy directors of education to constitute a three-member committee at every district to look into grievances related to fee hike.

delhi Updated: Dec 14, 2017 11:29 IST
A Mariyam Alavi
A Mariyam Alavi
Hindustan Times
Delhi schools,Delhi education,Delhi private schools
The Delhi government has received a slew of complaints from parents against fee hike in private schools. (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

Private schools in Delhi may not be able to hike their fees without reason in the wake of the 7th pay commission, as the government has asked the district-level deputy directors of education to ensure that fee anomaly committees functioning in their areas look into the matter.

Delhi’s chief and deputy chief ministers will also be meeting with local MLAs and education department officials on Thursday to hold further discussions on the issue.

In a bid to address complaints that the government has allegedly received from parents against fee hikes in schools, they issued a notice on Wednesday asking the district deputy directors of education to constitute a three-member committee, comprising themselves, an education officer of the zone and a chartered accountant, at every district to look into such grievances.

The decision comes after the Delhi High Court, last month, asked the government to constitute the panels before December 5.

Parents can register their complaints with the committee in the prescribed format by paying a processing fee of ₹100 and private schools have been asked to make their financial records available for inspection.

“We had been getting complaints from parents about fee hikes in private schools, citing the seventh pay commission. While some of them landed up at the chief minister and deputy chief minister’s offices and the officer of the deputy director of education, others were addressed to MLAs. Since it was impossible to deal with it at a central level, we needed to have a decentralised systematic approach to the matter,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on education.

She said that the issue of fee hike is not limited to a select few schools, but is a problem “across the board.”

The fee anomaly committees, which, according to Marlena, had existed “on paper” since 1999 as per the recommendations of the Justice Duggal Committee constituted by the Delhi High Court, is the answer to this need for a decentralised system.

The committee is expected to look into every complaint within 90 days and any unjustified fee hike will be rolled back and parents reimbursed.

“The inspection will happen at two levels. In the preliminary phase, we will enquire if the schools have any money in their reserve funds, as the pay commission guidelines clearly state that if such funds exist then fees cannot be hiked. We may also get the chartered accountant to in the committee to do an audit of a school’s accounts,” said Marlena, adding that the committees will be fully functional as soon as they hire chartered accountants.

According to government sources, Sisodia and chief minister Kejriwal have been meeting regularly over the past week to discuss the matter. Sisodia also reviewed the issue with education officers on Wednesday. Sources have also said that Kejriwal and Sisodia will be meeting MLAs and education department officials on Thursday to take stock of the fee hike issue.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 11:29 IST