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Delhi government to audit 1,700 private schools after complaints of fee hike

The government said that the move was necessitated after it received a number of complaints against fee hike from parents.

delhi Updated: Dec 27, 2017 12:27 IST
Heena Kausar
Heena Kausar
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,fee hike
On Tuesday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other stakeholders held a meeting in which the CM gave his nod for the audit. The auditing process will be completed in three months.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The financial accounts of around 1,700 private schools in the city will be audited by the Delhi government in a move to stop ‘unjustified fee hike’.

The government said that the move was necessitated after it received a number of complaints regarding fee hikes from parents.

The action comes days after the Delhi High Court stayed a recent government order allowing private unaided recognized schools to hike fee to implement the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC).

The government will get financial statements of the school for the last three years audited by a chartered accountant. The report of the chartered accountant will then be approved by officials from the Directorate of Education.

On Tuesday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other stakeholders held a meeting in which the CM gave his nod for the audit. The auditing process will be completed in three months.

Last year, the government had conducted an audit of around 150 private schools, which were built on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land. The schools built on DDA land need prior permission of the government to hike their fees.

The government, during the audit of these schools, had found that many institutions siphoned money collected through fees to their parent societies.

“Many schools were found to have spent huge amount of money on developing school buildings, even though various court orders have made it clear that the schools can only spend on furniture, fixtures and equipment. Some schools had also undertaken construction of other buildings under the society, using school fees,” Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia, said.

Marlena also said that some schools were found to have spent more money on school building per square metre than five star hotels.

“We saw this trend in the DDA schools and have now decided to get the financial accounts of last three years of all schools audited through charted accountants,” she said.

Marlena said the Delhi School Education Act and Rules (DSEAR) 1973 allows for conducting audit of private schools if the director (DOE) is not satisfied with the fee estimate given by the school.

“Under Section 24 (3) of DSEAR, 1973, the director of the Directorate of Education can order a review of the fee estimate proposal submitted by the school under section 17 (3) if it is not satisfated,” she said.

If any school is found to be violating the rule, then the government can either take over the school or derecognize it.

Marlena also said that they are going to make the process of submitting fee estimates online.

Private schools, however, said they were not happy with the government’s move. SK Bhattacharya, president of Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private School said, “There is no objection to auditing of school accounts, but the government cannot assume all schools are wrong. If there is any suspicion on any particular school then conduct an audit. But doing it for all schools is futile.”

First Published: Dec 27, 2017 00:48 IST