February 23, 2010

Schools can’t be allowed to fix exorbitant fees

HRD minister Kapil Sibal has made an astonishingly uncompassionate statement that fees of private schools could not be regulated. This comes in the midst of nursery admissions, one of the toughest seasons for young parents to see their ward take a tiny step towards exercising its right to education, now a fundamental right.

He made amends the next day and clarified that he was against profiteering by schools in the form of excess fees or demanding capitation charges. Against a profound statement allowing schools to run wild in fixing fees for students, nay parents, the minister came out with a whimper of a personal rejoinder saying he was against capitation fee.

There cannot be anything personal in matters of capitation fee or overcharging. Education is a serious matter and no one knows it better than Sibal, who as a top lawyer must have known from numerous Supreme Court judgments -- starting from Miss Mohini Jain vs State of Karnataka [1992] to P A Inamdar vs State of Maharashtra [2005] -- that the ball lies firmly in the government's court to prevent commercialisation of education. If the stinging judgments of the top court against profiteering and capitation fee are the law of the land and must be implemented by governments as mandated by Article 141 of the Constitution, then the schools, even if run by private or minority management, will find it impossible to pinch the last penny from parents.

Let us first take a look at the Mohini Jain judgment of the Supreme Court, which was pronounced at a time when liberalisation as a government policy was testing waters and commercialisation of education was not as big a menace it is now. In 1992, right to education was part of the unenforceable Directive Principles, traditionally considered by governments as idealistic preachings of the Constitution. The apex court did not think so and said Directive Principles were not mere pious declarations but of vital importance to the country's future.

Terming right to education to be a fundamental right even two decades back, the SC had said grant of recognition to private institutions by the state was creation of an agency by the government to fulfil its obligation under the Constitution to provide educational facility at all levels to citizens. "The students are given admission to the educational institution -- whether state-owned or state-recognised -- in recognition of their right to education under Constitution," it had said.

What the top court said in the two succeeding paragraphs is a must read for Sibal. It said, "Charging capitation fee in consideration of admission to educational institutions is a patent denial of a citizen's right to education under the Constitution. Capitation fee is nothing but a price for selling education. The concept of teaching shops is wholly abhorrent to Indian culture and heritage."

After more than 13 years, with liberalisation spreading prosperity and greed in equal proportions, the Supreme Court in P A Inamdar case again dealt with the topic of capitation fee. The judicial thinking, except for exclusion of the `culture and heritage' aspect, did not appear to have undergone much change as far as capitation fee was concerned. A 7-judge constitution Bench emphatically declared that the state was duty bound to prevent charging of capitation fee. "The charging of capitation fee by unaided minority and non-minority institutions is just not permissible," it had said. Can anything be clearer than this?

Concluding, the apex court said, "Every institution is free to devise its own free structure but the same can be regulated in the interest of preventing profiteering. No capitation fee can be charged."

So, even if educational institutions have freedom to fix the fee structure, they cannot indulge in profiteering. If they do so despite these judgments imposing an unambiguous ban on capitation fee and overcharging, then it is the government which should be held liable for being irresponsible both towards the citizen and the Constitution, which says law declared by the Supreme Court shall be enforceable throughout the country.

February 20, 2010

Private schools free to fix their own fees, says Sibal

NEW DELHI: In what comes as a blow to the efforts of city parents' associations which have been campaigning for reining in school fees, Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal said on Friday that the fees of private schools cannot be regulated and that each school had the right to fix the salaries of its teachers.

Sibal's claims contradict provisions in the Delhi School Education Act, 1973, which stipulate that remuneration of teachers in private schools cannot be less than their counterparts in government schools. The minister said this contradiction will go away once the Right to Education Act is implemented from April 1 this year ^ implying that the central Act will override the state law.

``There is no such provision in RTE,'' Sibal said about the salaries of teachers while addressing principals at the 37th annual meet of National Progressive Schools' Conference -- a group of nearly 110 private unaided schools in the city.
``The salaries of teachers in private schools do not have to be according to the government. They will decide to pay what they want to pay,'' he declared, while countering a speaker at the meet who had earlier said that small schools, which are now mushrooming in the city, did not have quality teachers because they could not afford to pay good salaries.
While all schools were not required to pay Rs 22,000 (the minimum basic salaray as per the Sixth Pay Commission) to their teachers, there should be no compromise on the qualification of teachers, he added.

The minister's new announcement indicates that private schools in the city may finally get a free hand in deciding teachers' salaries and consequently the fees, much to the dismay of parents. There have been many protests against schools hiking their fees last year. After the Sixth Pay Commission was implemented in the second half of 2008, schools sought to hike their fee to generate revenue to pay the teachers more.

Delhi government then formed the Bansal Committee to decide how much fee a school could be allowed to increase and issued a notification in this regard on February 11 last year.

According to section 9 of chapter IV of the Delhi School Education Act 1973, private schools need to pay salaries at a par with government schools. ``The scales of pay and allowances, medical facilities, pension, gratuity, provident fund and other prescribed benefits of the employees of a recognized private school shall not be less than those of the employees of the corresponding status in schools run by the appropriate authority.''

However, according to Sibal, this act will be rendered ineffective from April 1. ``Once the Right to Education (RTE) is implemented, the Delhi School Education Act will not apply.'' RTE Act has already been notified.

On regulation of fees, Sibal referred to the T M Pai case saying, ``The Supreme Court has also said that fees of private schools cannot be regulated and yet some state governments have passed such acts,'' he told the teachers present.

The minister said he has also moved a malpractices bill under which all schools will have to give details of their infrastructure, number of students, salaries of teachers etc on their website. If the online information is found to be false, the school can be prosecuted.

As per the provisions of RTE, all unaided private schools operating in a city should be recognized. Sibal said that the bill did not aim at shutting down unrecognized schools. ``Our purpose is to enhance infrastructure and quality of private unaided schools,'' he said.


February 18, 2010

Late fee cant be more than 5ps a day - Delhi High Court orders


W.P.(C) 12223/2009
RAKESH YADAV ..... Petitioner
Through : Mr. Ashok Agarwal and Mr. Yogesh Chandra, Advs.


RAMJAS SCHOOL AND ORS ..... Respondents
Through : Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Adv. for respondent nos.1 and 2/Ramjas School.
Mr. Shoaib Haider, Adv. for Mr. N. Waziri, Adv. for respondent no.2/GNCTD.
Mr. B.S. Meet, DEO, West A, Director of Education, GNCTD.



1. Grievance of the petitioner is that respondents no.1 and 2 has been charging late fee @ Rs.10/-, per day, which is illegal, arbitrary, unjust and in violation of Rule 166 of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, framed under Delhi School Education Act, 1973.

2. Learned counsel for respondent no.3/Directorate of Education, has handed over in Court a communication dated 16.10.2009 addressed by the Education Officer, Zone 16, to the Manager, Ramjas School (respondent no.1) wherein the school has been informed that as per Rule 166 only 5 paisa, per day, can be charged as late fee.

Counsel for respondent no.3 further submits that the writ petition will be treated as a representation and necessary orders will be passed after giving due opportunity of hearing to the petitioner as well as respondents no.1 and 2 expeditiously.  Respondent no.3 shall be bound by the statement made by their counsel in Court today.

3. Learned counsel for respondents no.1 and 2 Ramjas School submits that till the representation of the petitioner is decided Delhi School Education Act and Rules shall be followed with regard to charge of late fee.

4. In view of the stand taken by learned counsel for the parties, nothing further survives in the present writ petition, the same is accordingly disposed of in above terms.

February 11, 2010
W.P.(C) 12223/2009 2/2

February 14, 2010

Call 1800-11-7002 for CBSE stress busting

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced a toll-free helpline to counsel students ahead of the Class X and Class XII Board exams to overcome exam-related stress. It is for the first time that the board has introduced a centralised access system similar to that of a call centre.

Students can now dial 1800-11-7002 from any part of the country free of cost. The helpline will be operated by principals and trained counsellors from CBSE-affiliated schools along with psychologists and social scientists between 8 am and midnight. The service is al-so available for specially-abled children. The Board exams begin in the first we-ek of March and counselling will continue till April 8.

The operators of the helpline will answer the general queries of students and will also transfer their calls to the counsellors for psychological counselling.

Apart from this, the CBSE has also launched question-answer columns in newspapers, interactive voice resp-onse system (IVRS) and on-line counselling through its website to reach out to the students. “The director (academic) and Controller of Examinations, CBSE, can be contacted for online cou-nselling at diracad.cbse@ yahoo.co.in,” said Ms Rama Sharma, the CBSE spokesperson.

February 8, 2010


Forum for Fairness in Education is a voluntary Non Government Organization which fights against commercialization of and corruption in Education. It takes up cases against schools, colleges, trusts etc which compel parents to pay "Donation / Security Deposits / Refundable Deposits / Caution Money / Building Fund / Development Charges etc. " as a pre-condition for admission, indulge in profiteering or collect illegal and unapproved fees from students.

The greatest hurdle to availability of education for masses is 'Capitation Fees'.
1.'Capitation fees' includes all amounts of money / goods which are demanded by an educational institute / trust as a pre-condition for admission and which are not approved by the government. They may be called by various names viz. donation / security deposit / refundable deposit / building fund / maintenance etc. Demanding or collecting capitation money popularly disguised as 'Donation' at the time of admission or as a pre- condition to admission is an offence under. The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Prevention of Capitation Fees Act 1987). This offence is punishable with imprisonment for 3 years and penalty. It is a Non-bailable and Cognizable Offence. Any complaint relating to collection / demand of capitation fees should be lodged with Local Police Station within 30 days from payment of such amount.

2.Any fee which is not approved or prescribed by the Government is Capitation Fee; such as Building Maintenance, Examination Fee, Activity Fee, Incidental Charges, Counseling, Gymkhana Fee, Library Fee, Bulletin Charges, Karate Fee, Computer Fee (up to Std. IV), Advertisement Charges, Cyclostyling Charges, Calendar Fee, Educational material, Learning and Technical material, Printed Books, Photographs, School Badge Charges, Computer Manual Charges, Work Sheets Fee, Hobby Classes Fee, Development Fee, Entertainment Fee, Sports Fee, Health Care Fee, Audio Visual Fee, Premises Maintenance Fee, Repair & Maintenance Charges, Annual Day Charges, Scouts & Guide Fee, Field Trips Fee etc. Collection of any of the above Fees and or any other Fee/s without prior approval by the government / education department is an offence. Private schools have to get fees approved from Education Department & cannot charge over and above the approved fees. Capitation Fees also includes fees and any other amount of money which is not approved by the education department.

3.Due to deterioration of quality of education in public educational institutions, private educational institutes viz schools, colleges etc have mushroomed everywhere. In fact it has now become a 'business' to run a school. Private schools / colleges etc both established and managed by minority groups and non-minority groups, get lots of concession from government in form of free / concessional land, electricity, water.

4.Supply and other facilities and are not completely 'private' bodies. They cannot charge fees as per their own whims. The fees to be charged by private schools has to be approved by the Parents Teachers Associations of the school and also by the education department. Parents should write to education department under R.T.I to ascertain the amount of fees / charges approved by them.

5.Computer and Karate education are not included in the Primary (Std. 1 to IV) curriculum by S.C.E.R.T and therefore, the school should not conduct such classes during course of regular school hours. Hence no fee should be charged for Computer and Karate. The school management can provide these facilities after the school hours but it should not be made compulsory to all the students. The Computer Fee from Std. V to X should be charged as per the Government Resolution. The computer should be at least PIII with multimedia, CD Rom and Internet etc. one computer has to be provided per student.

6.It is not mandatory to buy Uniform, Exercise Books, Note Books, Stationary items, School Bag, Text Books etc. from the school / its agent or agent or from a particular shop. Bombay High Court has ruled in a Petition filed by Forum for Fairness in Education that schools cannot compel students to buy school uniform / material from them / their agent. Schools / Colleges cannot compel parents to buy school uniforms, exercise books, note books, stationery items, school bag, text books, shoes or any accessories etc from the school or its agent or from any particular shop.

7.The School can collect approved Tuition fees (for12 months) and Term fees ( for 2 months only). Term fees should be collected twice in a year and one term fee should be not be more than one month's tuition fee. Collection of Capitation fees under different pretexts / names / heads is also an offence, which is cognizable and non- bailable & punishable with 3 years imprisonment.

8.It is mandatory for all schools to form Parents Teachers Association body every year. PTA elections should be held democratically and only one parent per division should be elected. Similarly only one teacher from each division is allowed. The elected members are not eligible to contest elections for next 5 years. The School should not charge more than Rs. 5/- per year in urban areas and Re. 1/- in rural areas as PTA fee.

9.Picnics / Tours / Field Trips are not compulsory. School / College cannot compel or force any student to join picnic or tour.

10.There are 21 different items covered under Term fees, therefore the schools can not charge separate fees for all those items covered under the term fees.

11.Do not forget to take valid Receipt from the school towards payments of fees or other charges. Receipt has to be on the name of School only and NOT in the name of trust.

12.The school cannot charge late fee of more than Rs.1/- per day.

13.The school cannot collect yearly, half yearly or quarterly fees in advance. You can pay monthly fees.

14.The school / colleges cannot victimize or harass students or parents / guardians. Any matter pertaining or victimization or harassment should be informed to Education Department or to the Police. You can get in touch with Forum for assistance.

Forum has filed more than 60 cases in the High Court and Supreme Court against Mal-practices, Commercialization of Education and Corruption in Education. Forum provides guidance to parents in legal issues pertaining to education.

15.Forum has dedicated core teams to look into various spheres of education viz Pre-primary education, Primary education, Secondary education, Colleges, Private Educational establishment, Minority education, Professional courses viz Medical, Engineering, Law etc.

Dear parents / guardians, if you have any complaint or grievance against any of the school/s please report the same to the concerned Education Department or Forum for Fairness in Education. All complaints related to Education (including Colleges, University, Medical, Management Colleges and Engineering etc.) can be lodged with Forum for Fairness in Education.

Remember, by keeping quiet you are encouraging corruption in education and commercialization of education.

AIPA to have a historic march on Feb 13, 2010 in New Delhi


Dear Friends,
It is shocking to know that even after 62 years of independence; over 2 crores children with disabilities of this country have totally been denied the right to education. What ever figures are available is the pointer of the fact that only less than one percent of these children with disabilities are in the mainstream school system. It is submitted that the children with disabilities are the worst sufferers as they are massively deprived of all human and fundamental rights. Interestingly, even those children who are in schools do not have basic facilities like special teachers, aids and appliances, reading and learning material, barrier free environment, special toilets, ramps etc. Even premier institution like Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) have admitted before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court that they do not have any staff to take care of the educational needs of the disabled children studying in their schools. How long the rulers of this country would continue to deny the basic right to education to our children with disabilities?

It is submitted that all children including the children with disabilities have a basic human and fundamental right to receive good quality education in the mainstream schools as guaranteed to them under Article 14 (right to equality), Article 21 (right to life with dignity), Article 21-A (right to education) and Article 38 (right to social justice) of the Constitution of India read with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008). It is estimated that about 10 crores children are out of school and are engaged in labour though their right place is in schools. Those children who are in the government school system are receiving very poor quality of education. It is all happening due to the apathy of the governments towards the educational needs of the children of the masses of this country.

In order to highlight the violations of the right to education of the children with disabilities, All India Parents Association (AIPA) is organizing a March to the Parliament on Saturday, February 13, 2010 from 11.00 am to 12.30 pm

  • No government or private school deny admission to the children with disabilities
  • All the schools whether government or private shall provide totally free education to the children with disabilities at all levels
  • All schools whether government or private should have all basic facilities like, adequate number of qualified special teachers, aids and appliances, ramps, special toilet, teaching and learning material, barrier free environment etc.
  • Availability of basic facilities for the disabled children in school must be made a condition of grant of recognition to the school
  • Totally free health security to the children with disabilities. Schools should be so equipped with basic medical expertise that the children with disabilities may get appropriate medical assistance, guidance and advice.
The AIPA will submit a memorandum to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India inviting his kind attention to the aforementioned demands and seeking his intervention for realization of the same.

Lawyers, parents, students, professionals, children with disabilities , NGOs, social activists and concerned citizens in big number holding placards in their hands are expected to participate in this “HISTORICAL MARCH” to parliament on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 from 11.00 am to 12.30 pm.

We request you to kindly join us and participate in time to make the March to Parliament for the protection of the right to education of the children with disabilities a great success.

With regards,
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
National President, All India Parents Association

(Source Adv Ashok Agarwals Blog - My Diary)

February 7, 2010

Are you a Parent with concern for education system in Greater Hyderabad ?

HSPA encourages parents from across the schools to join us to fight out the battle against schools with profiteering in mind. Memberships are open for individual parents as well as for Parents Associations from the schools in this part.

We also encourage individual parents to come, join us & contrinbute for this societal cause as per their choice. After all we as perants owe this to our next generation.

Reach us @ parentshyderabad@yahoo.in with your support.

February 2, 2010

Schools of all categories to vanish from AP ?

Times of India | Page 4 | 1st February, 2010 | Hyderabad

1. It was un-controlled year on year hike in the private schools across AP only armed with GO MS 91 against schools (that too being challenged in HC). Except for Hyderabad collector & DEO no other Collector/DEO in the state looks like knew of this or want to act in his region. Offcourse almost lakedesical support from the government or educationd epartment on this.
2. Government wants to clsoe down over 3000 plus schools as they're not in profit making list ???
3. Wat to squeeze the social service being rendered by Catholic schools now by wanting to tax them.

Where is this state heading towards ?
Are parents listening ??
What is you say on this ??? Write to us @ parentshyderabad@yahoo.in with all your views & suggestions.