Friday, March 21, 2008

Sixth pay commission & fee hike - Unaided private schools ready to exploit hapless parents

2008 may see the repeat of 1997. In 1997, the unaided private schools in Delhi exorbitantly hiked the fee and other charges from 40% to 400% in anticipation of fifth pay commission recommendations forcing the middle class parents to resort to agitation who felt cheated and found it unjust and unaffordable for most of them. The matter went to Hon’ble Delhi High Court by way of public interest litigation (PIL) and the Hon’ble High Court decided the matter finally in October 1998 issuing several directions to the government to ensure complete check on the commercialization of education in unaided private schools. The schools appealed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the High Court decision but the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on 27.04.2004.

The most significant aspect of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment is that it has finally set at rest the controversy whether government has the authority to regulate the fee and other charges of unaided recognized private schools to prevent commercialization of education. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has categorically held that the government has the authority to regulate fee of unaided private schools.

In the wave of the High Court decision, the Delhi Government issued order dated 15.12.1999 laying down the methodology of determining the fee and other charges by the unaided private schools. The Delhi Government by another order constituted Fee Grievance Redressal Committee to deal with the complaints of the parents relating to fee hike.

Despite the High Court and the Supreme Court decisions and the Delhi Government orders, the exorbitant fee hike every year remained unabated. Only few parents dared to raise their voices while rest suffered in silence. The government, which has not only powers but also duty to check exploitation of hapless parents, simply remained a mute spectator and allowed the greedy school owners to commercialize education with impunity.

The current news reports are indicating that the sixth pay commission is likely to recommend an increase of up to 42% in the salaries and pension of central government employees. It is a welcome step but the unaided private schools should not be allowed to take undue advantage of the same. The academic year is going to start from April 01 and it is time to hike the fee and other charges notwithstanding whether the same is required or not. On the pretext of the contemplated recommendations of the sixth pay commission, the schools are getting ready to hike the fee and other charges from 100% to 400% which is bound to give a big jolt to the middle class parents. It is reminded that Articles 21 (Right to life with dignity) and 21-A (Right to education) of the Constitution mandate State to provide free and compulsory elementary education to all the children. The unaided private schools being the extended hands of the State are also obliged to follow this mandate.

The fact is that there is no need for most of the schools to hike fee and other charges on the ground of the contemplated sixth pay commission recommendations. All the schools have been hiking fee and other charges every year. Moreover, these schools have accumulated huge surplus money by charging students exorbitant fee and other charges during the past years. The inspection reports regarding more than 200 leading schools having been prepared by the Education Department of Government of Delhi during the last two years clearly support these facts. It is estimated that if the Supreme Court judgment is implemented, the present fee level will come down by 60%.
There is another aspect of the matter also. There are as many as 384 unaided private schools that have been allotted public lands on throwaway prices. One of the conditions of the allotment of the lands is that school shall not hike fee without prior permission of the Department of Education, Government of Delhi. Unfortunately, this condition has never been adhered to by any such school. Despite complaints to the Chief Minister of Delhi in this regard, the government is not moved at all.

The Government of Delhi must rise to the occasion and take steps in advance ensuring that the unaided private schools are not allowed to hike fee and other charges exorbitantly, unjustly and arbitrarily on the pretext of the contemplated recommendations of the sixth pay commission. The middle class parents should raise their voice to save them from the exploitation. It is a wake up call.
(Please send your comments at
Email: M-09811101923)
By- Ashok Agarwal, Advocate & a Civil Rights Activist


Anonymous said...

Salwan Public Schools Mayur Vihar Phase -3, has autocratically started the process of raising the fee by 50-60%. Parents are being told that the hike will be applicable from Jan 2007 and every parent has to pay the arrears. As per the reports they have called few parents individually and every body was threatened to fall in line. A few hot headed who refused have been told to withdraw their wards immediately. I tried to speak to some of the parents, everybody was vocal and terming Salwan's Baniya's, but nobody is ready to lead or.. Can you please advise how should we proceed further

Sanjay Sharma

Anonymous said...

Without a fee hike how can schools pay increased salary. Few schools may have surplus money. what would others do?

Anonymous said...

15-20 years back it was a common practise that if you protest against politically & financially sound people you will be eliminated . .
Now, 20 years down-the-line when education/media etc are at there best still nobody wants to raise his/her voice in terror of being singled out.Things have not changed & we claim ourselves to be educated.
Here in INDORE schools have made a cartel & are in dictatorship mode, either pay the hiked fees or take out the children, but here once kid is withdrawn from one school due to fees issue it is impossible to get admission in any other school . .
Moreover almost every good school is a part of the cartel & fees is almost at par.
Quality Vs Fees gap is huge.
Parents want some relief but no one is ready to raise the voice or to form an association to take any legal actions.
We still are slaves in front of BIG Sociallites.
Please guide us.

Anonymous said...

How is arrear from Jan 2006 justified for kids who got admitted in 2007 and or 2008?

There are earlier hikes of the year already on record, the same should get adjusted within current proposed hike of Rs. 400/- per month.

In Cambridge School, Indirapuram GZB teachers keep on changing off and on. Is there any provision in Bansal committe recomendations to verify the school management's so called 'Burden' of 6th Pay Commision. There might be very little percentage of school staff who really were with school in or before 2006.

There is a meeting called between parents and school management on Sat, March 7 at 9:00 AM. All the parents may come and raise their voice.

Delhi Public School Surat said...

Why don't parents admit their children in Government schools which have been built with tax payers money and put up the same effort there with the help of eminent lawyers like Mr.Aggarwal? We could raise the standards of all our Govt schools if the parents themselves become the watchdogs in these schools. Imagine India with all educated and well to do parents having their children alongside the poor children. It would be the real mark of a mature democracy. Will you advocate this and start a struggle for this Mr.Aggarwal??

Anonymous said...

Mr Aggarwal
some of the schools having not paid the total arrears claim that this has to be paid only out of the collection.can any other source be used for this pending repayment