January 31, 2010

Note from the President's desk

Most of you would be aware that HSPA has worked relentlessly with various Government Authorities, District Fee Regulatory Committee, Schools Parent Associations in Hyderabad to curb the “assumed practice of fee hike year-on-year”. While we have reached to a point that we are treated as a significant party in any such discussions by Government, Regulators, Legal System as well as Media; one of the suggestion that’s coming out very strongly across during our consultations with various advisors in the society that HSPA should take the lead, hire a senior counsel to file & front end a case in HC of AP on the fee regulation and to protect the GO MS 91 on behalf of lacs of parents in AP and it should not be left to individual school parents / parent associations to deal with big muscles of school management.

In order to make a significant towards that, we require various Parent Associations to come forward and support by:

  • Suggest some leading senior counsel(s) who can fight for this cause with strong conviction.

  • Suggest some leading senior counsel(s) who can fight for this cause with strong conviction, for almost free ??
Based on our discussion with various advisors, the approximate fee for senior counsel to represent our case with sufficient seriousness & desired output would be around 5-6 lacs …. For this to happen, we require various Parent Associations to come forward and suggest ways on how this kind of fund can gathered to meet the requirements of legal proceedings with senior counsels payouts. What avenues do each one of you feel would be the fastest & easiest (million dollar question?)
  • Can we ask each of the school association to atleast fund Ten thousand each to HSPA?
  • Or can atleast 60- 70 plus active / committed members contribute 10K or more?
  • Or can atleast 100 plus active / committed members contribute 5K or more?
  • Try out a different route to get large funds from external sources – NGOs, corporate foundations or corporate/ social sectors?
Let each member of this group provide with the best option you feel would be practical & can be implemented. Maybe we should have individual opinions by Feb 3rd. Write to us @ parentshyderabad@yahoo.in

Fee hike: Parents losing the battle?

HYDERABAD: Are city parents fighting a losing battle against fee hikes in schools? It does seem to be the case with a school obtaining a stay order on the government order (GO) that restricted fee hikes in private schools. Now, parents are gearing up for the worst: higher fees in the next academic year.

Parent associations admit they are headed for a long drawn battle which started last year when one school after the other started hiking fees unreasonably. Widespread protests had led to the government issuing an order last August barring schools from increasing fee without the permission of the District Fee Regulatory Committee (DFRC). And just when parents thought that things would fall in place, two schools moved the court.

Earlier this week, a stay on the GO restricting fee hike was obtained by Niraj Public School which had approached the HC. The court has asked the secondary education department, DFRC and school managements to submit their views before the bench in a month’s time.

Legal experts note that the stay on the GO would make the recently commissioned DFRC defunct and parents fear that the school managements will charge exorbitant fees for the coming academic year, admissions for which have already started. Many schools had earlier announced a 20 to 25 per cent fee hike for the coming academic year, 2010-11.

According to parents who have been fighting it out with managements, the stay has come as a rude jolt. “Since the GO is now under interim suspension we might have to surpass many more hurdles. The schools which increased their fee may now penalise parents who have not paid up,” said a parent. Many schools, including Niraj Public School, had moved the court against parents who had not paid the fee.

Parents are even worried that the school managements will now take the stay order as a pretext for punishing students who are still to remit the increased fee. “Many managements prevented their students from writing internal exams just to settle scores with agitating parents. With the GO under suspension for now we are worried that schools might harass our children,” said a parent.

Even officials of district administration who had earlier sent notices to erring schools expressed their helplessness in helping the parents out. “The DFRC will not be able to take any action against schools as a stay order has been obtained on the GO,” said Navin Mittal, district collector. He, however, said that efforts are being made to file a counter within the time specified. The district administration had served notices to over 10 city schools for violating the GO. Meanwhile, legal experts said that the parents will also have to present their view before the court during the next hearing.

Nevertheless, some parents do not feel that they are fighting a losing battle. “In fact we are even prepared to take the fight to the Supreme Court, if need be, since the GO has been framed according to the SC guidelines,” said a parent.

Meanwhile, senior officials of secondary education department maintained that the GO is effective even now as the court order pertains to only those schools which had approached the bench.

HSPA welcomes the above press article (freedom of speach) but, we however re-instate that

1. Parents consitute the major portion of our society & includes the law makers, teaching faternity, politicians, employees ... in short the people of this counrty. How can the majority be in loosing ground when the fight is for the basic right to be set right ?
2. When government decides to close down over 3000 odd schools across the state, theres a hue & cry by politicians across the parties & why not on the unjustified hike year on year by school ?
3. Is the government trying to promoting commercialisation aspect in schools by these acts ?
4. Has the law gone blind to hear & talk in such a language as stated in a recent case that "it has become a fashion for few parents to form association & go against schools?" Is this judge not a parent & doesn't feel that its his duty to pass on effective & reasonable education to his children ?
5. Raise is inevitable, we're only demanding transperancy in education system & stop profiteering.
6. HSPA is working with many other associations across the country & we're committed to take up with issue to what every highest level it needs to be.

Parents on hunger strike over school fee hikes

The parents of students of Katrap Vidyalaya, Badlapur, have begun an indefinite hunger strike to protest the school’s monthly fee hike from Rs 500 to Rs 620.

The government is yet to take a decision on the Kumud Bansal Committee report on recommendations for fee regulation in private, unaided schools. The report recommends that schools be allowed to earn a 15 per cent surplus over expenses. The court has set February 10 deadline for a government decision. “Parents should not pay the hiked fees until the government takes a decision on the matter,” said Jayant Jain, president of the All India Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations.

“The school is not profiteering and has shown parents bank slips to prove that 80 per cent of their expenses are on teachers’ salaries,” said principal Amita Chinderkar.

January 23, 2010

Parents cry foul as HPS plans fee hike

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Public School (HPS) management has proposed a steep fee hike of 30-40 per cent to meet the demand of its teachers for a pay increase. While the move has gone down well with the teachers who had gone on a strike some time back demanding a hike in their salaries, the parents are not happy.

The school informed the parents at a meeting which was held this week about the inevitability of a fee hike. However, the parents’ body, which is meeting on Saturday, would be allowed to decide on the exact percentage of the hike. Both the branches of HPS - Begumpet and Ramanthapur — are planning to hike the fee, parents said. Meanwhile, the angry parents have decided to approach the school education department, which has issued a GO banning any unauthorised increase in fee. “Such a huge increase in fee is unacceptable. The managements are flouting all state government rules to hike fee,” said the parent of a HPS student. Many parents said that they would have to shift their children to other schools if the management goes ahead with the fee hike. With the average fee per annum in HPS being Rs 50,000, an increase by 40 per cent would be over 20,000, the parents rued. “We might just have to chuck the ‘prestigious’ HPS and admit our children to less expensive schools. A 40 per cent hike becomes a serious problem if more than one child from a family is studying in HPS,” a parent said, adding that while the final decision has been left to the parents, they wonder if the management would agree to their demand for no hike. Due to the teachers’ strike, the school had tweaked the timetable to reduce the number of teaching hours for almost two months. The school had also extended Dasara and Diwali holidays during the teachers’ strike.

When contacted, the HPS authorities said that they would have to increase the fee as the management had come to an agreement with the teachers on salary hike. “If the teachers’ demand for pay hike were to be met, there is no alternative but to raise the fees. The parents can decide on the percentage of hike. We can only say that the hike has to be 15-20 per cent anyhow,” said Alokesh Sen, principal, HPS. He said the board has still not finalised the percentage of fee hike and this will be decided next week.

However, the parents alleged that the school was trying to make quick bucks by hiking the fee as most of the amount would go only into the management’s coffers.

January 22, 2010

Its a ping pong game for Parents ?

Sakshi | Hyderabad district Edition | Page 10 | 22.01.2010

English translation
- Schools attack the education department for issuing them the notices
- Schools claim that the government is acting against the orders they got from the courts
- Pricess Esin school management has served a notice on education department to reply in 2days as to why the notice has been served on them
- Other schools are being asked to take similar stand against government & this could become challenge for collector !

January 21, 2010

Don't mistreat any student: CBSE to schools

New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) Taking note of several incidents of harassment of students by teachers across the country, the Central Board of Secondary Education has advised all its affiliated schools not to mistreat any child or parent in the name of enforcing discipline. "No school under the guise of enforcing discipline should mistreat any student or parent thereof.

This must be strictly observed and enforced notwithstanding any external pressure whatsoever," CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi has said in an advisory to the schools. Observing that adolescents are vulnerable to many influences, the central education board has asked its over 10,000 affiliated schools to empower students to take informed decisions.

The advisory further states: "The schools need to be aware of the sensitive and impressionable nature of minds of school children and must ensure that all students, irrespective of their differences in physical, social, economic status or by their being differently abled are dealt with in a dignified manner." Noting that schools are ideological institutions and not factories, CBSE said children must be treated as "sensitive individuals" who need to be protected at any cost.

Several incidents of harassment of students by teachers had been reported in the country. In a recent case, Class XII student Himanshi Chaudhary committed suicide here after allegedly being humiliated by her teacher.


Private schools served notice over fee hike in Hyderabad

and now its the turn of ToI to report this news ..

Parents of Hyderabad

What are we waiting for now? You have government supporting you & so is media ... all you need is your will & drive to make sure education system in our country can't be in the hands of capitalists in the name of social work. Lets make our education affordable & rightfull for all Indians.

January 19, 2010

DFRC issues notices to schools in Hyderabad

DFRC issued notices to all schools regarding fee hike in Hyderabad.

  • On parents complaints, notice has been issued to Glendale, Niraj, Meridian, Princess Esin, Mukharam Jahi and other schools. These schools need to respond within one week with explanation and audit reports
  • School Education Department has issued notice to about 1500 schools to respond within one months time and submit details with complete audit report.
  • Schools should abide by GO MS-91 and collect fee as per 2008-09
  • Criminal case will be filed on the school who have ignored the GO and hiked fee by 40%

Saakshi | Hyderabad Distric Edition | 19.10.2010

Eenadu | Hyderabad Distric Edition | 19.10.2010

January 18, 2010

Schools Gear Up To Hike Fees

NEW DELHI: Schools in the capital are once again getting ready to hike fees in the new session which begins in April. The management of most schools are likely to decide on the quantum of hike in March after they lay out the budget for the next academic session. "As the cost of everything is increasing, there will be a hike. It may be less or more than 10%,'' said L V Sehgal, principal, Bal Bharti Public School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg, who is also the vice-president of National Progressive Schools' Conference (NPSC) a body of at least 110 schools.

The schools had earlier raised fees after the Sixth Pay Commision was implemented in September 2008. The directorate of education (DoE) accepted the recommendations of the Bansal Committee formed in October 2008 by Delhi government to look into the matter of a fee hike. As per DoE directions issued on February 11, 2009, parents had to pay upto Rs 500 as the hike in tuition fees besides a maximum of Rs 4,500 as arrears in two-three instalments though the matter is now subjudice.

"There hasn't been a hike in the last session. But there will be an escalation this year. We will look into our annual budget and decide upon a justified hike,'' said Bharti Sharma, principal, Amity International School, Saket. D K Bedi, principal, Apeejay School, Pitampura, said, "There are three months to go before the hike is introduced. It will be reasonable and will bedecided in consultation with government representatives. There are two nominees each from the government and the DoE on the management board.

'' Parents are worried. Said advocate Ashok Aggarwal, who runs a civil rights group called Social Jurist, "Schools hike fees by 10% to 30% every year. As per court directions, they can increase or decrease the fee according to their expenditure and projections. But schools assume that they can only hike the fee.'' He added, "Any increase so close to last year's hike may force more children to drop out of private schools.''

Any different for us in Hyderabad ? Do you know many schools have sent notices to Parents hiking fee for next academic year & many more planning to give a shocker at nth moment.

January 16, 2010

Notice to Niraj Public School

Sakshi | 16.01.2010 | Hyderabad District Edition | Page3

Hyderabad district collector Navin Mittal has ordered the DEO to hand over the notice to the Niraj Public School management inview of the school management issuing TCs to children whose parents have protested against schools decision to hike school fee's against GO MS 91.

January 12, 2010

A day's out for HSPA members

You already know that, we from HSPA went all way out to support the schools in discussion & ensure they get right hearing & audience at the government authorities. Find below, some of the press reports in print media today & we are sure many of you have already watched the video clippings in many popular telugu TV news channels like ETV2, SakshiTV, ABM Andrajyothy, Zee24Gantalu, Gemini News, TV9 etc.

Parents, what more support do you want ? Media is with us & so are the government officials. Unite, come in large numbers & demand for a better tomorrow for the next generation. After all, we owe this to our children & lets fight it out today.

January 11, 2010

HSPA meets with Hyderabad District Collector

Showing complete disregard to the GO MS-91many of the schools have already announced hike of fee for the next academic year 2010-11. Citing this, HSPA members today visited the Hyderabad District Collector Mr Navin Mittal to express HSPA member school associations’ unhappiness about inaction from the governments side. Incidentally the District Education Officer Ms Victoria Devkumari was also present.

HSPA Core and several Member School Associations submitted representations seeking immediate action on schools not abiding by the GO MS-91. Mr Navin Mittal categorically mentioned that all schools in AP, irrespective of curriculum/ board followed (SSC, CBSE, ICSE, IB or others), have to abide by the GO and collect fee as per 2008-09 fee structure only till the time they report the justification of fee hike to the DFRC (District Fee Regulatory Committee) and seek approval on their revised fee structure by sharing the income/expense details. He has assured parents that criminal actions will be initiated against these schools’ management who continue to misguide/ harass the parents and also assured that these schools will need to refund the excess amount collected from the 2008-09 fee levels until approval on fee hike is secured from DFRC.

“There is no question of fee hike for the next academic year as of now” assured Mr Navin Mittal. He has sought 2 weeks time from HSPA for a review of the situation and during this time Ms Victoria Devkumari will personally engage with such schools strictly on behalf of Mr Navin Mittal and issue written notices warning perennial consequences, if need be.

HSPA members would meet the DEO once again shortly to get an update on the action taken by her and with Navin Mittal on Jan 25th on the steps taken by all the concerned authorities.

January 7, 2010

New rule allows a fee hike for 80% schoolsJanuary 8th, 2010

Hyderabad, Jan. 7: The recent orders of the state government to exempt private schools, which collect a fee of up to Rs 12,000 per annum, from the ambit of fee regulation, has evoked sharp criticism from parents. They said the government has committed a grave blunder, as about 80 per cent of private schools collect less than Rs 10,000 per annum and the exemption will give these schools a free hand to raise the fee to Rs 12,000 without hesitation.

Several parents’ associations have decided to challenge the government orders in the AP High Court. Parents expressed fear that they will not be in a position to question schools’ managements that resort to an indiscriminate fee hike from the ensuing academic year, as the government itself has issued orders enabling them to charge up to Rs 12,000 without intimating the school department officials.

They alleged that the government in its bid to regulate just 10 per cent of big schools, which collect a huge fee, has allowed the remaining 90 per cent of schools to fleece parents; a majority of them from middle and low income groups. “How can the government justify a fee of Rs 12,000 per annum for school students when it has fixed just Rs 10,500 per annum for engineering courses in colleges? It’s ridiculous on the part of government to take such hasty decisions without considering the ground realities,” said Mr D. Chandra Shekar Rao, a parent.

In August, 2009, the government had issued orders on fee regulation in all private schools under pressure from parents and students who took to the streets protesting the steep fee hike put in effect by various schools.  The government made it mandatory for all schools to submit their income and expenditure details to district fee regulatory committees (DFRCs) and fix the fee accordingly. The schools had to seek the approval of the DFRCs before effecting a hike. However, the government failed to set up DFRCs in all districts as officials ex-pressed an inability to verify the accounts of every private school in the state, which amount to over 50,000, citing shortage of staff. To fix this, the government issued fresh orders on January 5, exempting those schools, which charge less than Rs 12,000 per annum, from fee regulation, ignoring the fact that about 80 per cent of schools charge less than that amount.