December 27, 2011

Poor quake at English hurdle to RTE

Sugandha Pathak, New Delhi, Dec 26, DHNS:
Filling the forms proves an obstacle to admitting their kids to top schools, forms are not in vernacular
Parents who want to admit their children to top private schools under the Right to Edution (RTE) face a hurdle right at the start: Admission forms in English that don't make sense to them.

“I want my child to study in a reputed school but the admission forms of most top schools are in English. The applications of some of the schools run into four to five pages and if all that is written in English, that is a worry. I will end up putting my child in a small school. Delhi Public School, Heritage, G.D Goenka etc have their forms in English,” said Abdul Sattar, a hawker who sells readymadeclothes.
Sattar has studied till standard 8 and can read and write in Hindi. He is trying to admit his four-year-old child to a nursery class in a top school for the next academic year. On paper, at least, the RTE law makes this possible, as it is mandatory for all schools to ensure that 25 per cent of the admissions are from the Economically Weaker Sectio,(EWS).

Sattar and his wife are trying to get someone who knows English to fill the forms.
But they worry that an error in the application might ruin the prospect of their child's admission. According to them, there are a few schools which have admission forms in Hindi, but they are mostly smaller schools.

An NGO, Social Jurist, working on education-related concerns, wrote recently to the Directorate of Education suggesting a Common Application Form in Hindi for admission under the freeship quota.

“The Common Admission Form are in English. Most of the parents belonging to EWS-Disadvantaged Group (DG) category do not read, write or understand English.

Therefore, to make the EWS admissions effective and purposeful, it is necessary that the DoE make available Hindi (Vernacular) version of of the Common Admission Form, for admission under EWS and DG in terms of the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act, 2009) on its website immediately,” said advocate Ashok Agarwal, advisor, Social Jurist.

Khagesh Jha, an advocate and a member of the organisation, said the issue was raised at a meeting on Monday with officials at the DoE. “They have not given us any substantial response to our concern. As per the nursery admission guidelines there is no rule on giving out forms in Hindi. Some schools in the city are doing it by themselves,” he said.

December 26, 2011

Pros and Cons of reservation in schools for economically backward

With schools having to reserve 25% of their seats for economically backward students from the next academic year, the poor kids will get an opportunity to study in elite schools. Puja Pednekar weighs the pros and cons.

Ten-year-old Rahul Waghmare trudges to a civic school in Andheri every day. He wants to design automobiles when he grows up. But now, he dreams of studying in a posh school.
However, he can’t afford to. His mother and sister work as domestic helps and just about manage to make ends meet.

“My school is in a bad shape. The teachers are absent most of the time and lessons are not taken seriously. I have always wanted to study in a big school,” he said.

His dream might be a reality next year.

From the next academic year, all schools - even the most elite ones — will have to reserve 25% seats for underprivileged children between the ages of 6 and 14.

This is one of the sections of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, introduced in 2009, which will be implemented from next year in the state.
“Such a move will mean that even a deprived child from Dharavi will be able to study in an elite school in the city. These students will get free education till class 8. The state government will pay part of their fees while the rest will have to be borne by the school management,” said a senior education official.

The reservation will give underprivileged students access to good education, say educationists who have welcomed the move.
“In a country where literacy levels are low and good quality education is not affordable to many, the move is the need of the hour,” said Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of the state board.
The scheme will help create equal opportunity for students irrespective of their economic backgrounds, she added.

Although Jayant Jain, president Forum for Fairness in Education, welcomes the move, he is worried for the child after the freeship is over.

“The government will pay his/her fees only till class 8. What will happen to the child after that? The child will be left in the lurch as he would not be able to afford studying in that school once the free education is over. The government should cover a child’s education till class 10 at least,” Jain said.
Schools have their own set of worries after the law is enforced.
They say that such a reservation will change classroom dynamics culturally, socially and economically. They will need to pay extra attention to these students.

“When an underprivileged child studies in a big school with peers who are financially better than them, it might lead to negative feelings and the child might feel let down,” said Vandana Lulla, director, principal of Podar International School, Santa Cruz.

“Also, other children will not know how to mingle with them. Schools need to organise sensitisation programmes for students on how to behave so as not to hurt each other’s sentiments.”
Rohit Bhat, principal of Children’s Academy, Malad, agreed that schools will need a mechanism to assess these children. “We need to know whether the underprivileged children will be able to cope with the curriculum. Teachers will need to work hard with such students through remedials. It will be a tough task,” he said.

The state government will reimburse the schools an amount equal to either the fees charged by the school or the per child expenditure in state schools, whichever is lower.
But, schools are apprehensive whether the move would be economically viable for them. They, instead, want a public-private partnership that will provide education to the deprived children.
“Instead of reserving seats, the government should strengthen the public-private partnership model by allowing schools to adopt municipal schools, send their own qualified teachers to the civic schools and allow students to use their infrastructure,” said Sudeshna Chatterjee, principal of Jamnabai Narsee School, Vile Parle (West).

Parents are worried that the fee burden will fall on the rest of the students.

“Even though the government pays part of the fees of such children, the schools will get an excuse to hike fees saying that they have to cover up for these children.This will make the education system more lopsided and unfair,” said Anita Nagwekar, a parent whose son studies in a school at Andheri.
Several states across the country have already started implementing the reservation.

But Maharashtra came out with its rule book for implementing the RTE in 2011 and will make the 25% reservation clause binding on all schools from the next academic year.

“The RTE is delayed in the state because we are waiting for the Supreme Court decision on the reservation. Some private schools had taken the matter to the court. We cannot implement it until we get a judgment from the court. So by next year, it will fall in place,” said a senior education official.

December 25, 2011

Where motive is profit, education takes a back seat

Formally allowing ‘for-profit' institutions to operate schools will deepen the systemic inequity along economic fault lines.

Section 12 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which enforces a private-public partnership by reserving 25 per cent seats for the economically backward living in the vicinity of a private school, is a major source of anxiety for these institutions. Private trusts and managements fret about eroding autonomy, while parents in elite schools question the high fees in institutions that have lost the right to exclude. This opposition, driven by the middle class, seeks to defend its privileged and rarefied education system from encroachments, which were the initial trigger for the private school movement in India.

Modelled on the British public schools, the early private schools of the pre-independence era, such as Bishop Cotton School and the Lawrence Schools, educated children of English officers and scions of the most privileged Indian families. Schools aided by the government were intended to produce lettered civil servants. In the decades preceding independence, prominent Indian institutions such as the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Delhi Public School Society focussed on developing leaders with an Indian ethos. Over the decades, these schools provided free India with its first bureaucrats and administrators.

Post-independence, democracy universalised education, which until then had been a privilege, signalled by increased enrolments across all demographic profiles. The exodus of the middle class from government to private schools that flourished through the 1960s and 1970s was an acknowledgement of a middle class elitism that was clearly discomfited by the blurring class and caste lines in the classroom. Largely controlled by the upper castes, these private schools were avowedly secular but reinforced caste divisions. Established by non-profit organisations mostly in metropolitan areas, they further distanced the rural-urban educational experience. The mushrooming of lower-end “budget” schools in the last two decades, accounting for 60 per cent of urban enrolment growth in primary education between 1986 and 1993, was a market response to the rising clamour for English education from an aspiring, upwardly mobile lower middle class which did not have the means to send its children to more exclusive private schools.

By default, government schools became synonymous with mass education and were increasingly apportioned to the lower castes and Dalits who aspired to be educated. By the 1980s, because of defunding and slackening civic pressure, the system had collapsed and was marked by low teacher morale, high dropout rates, and rampant absenteeism among both students and teachers.

Over the past 30 years, this deep divide between the two systems has fostered two distinctive streams of education and thereby two exclusive educational and life experiences. The alternative private schooling system has contributed to a social transformation by creating an educated middle class that values economic growth but not social cohesion; that acknowledges education as a critical resource but endorses the marginalisation of groups based on financial status; and that has a sense of entitlement but does not actively advocate universalisation of education.

While the continued existence of private schools is an indictment of the government, in that it has failed to respond to the educational needs of its children, it has also legitimated an attitude that allows the privileged to dissociate themselves from the educational needs of the larger society. With all its shortcomings, which have been extensively documented, the RtE should be commended for trying to bridge the chasm by building on the bedrock of inclusion.

The push by the RtE to re-engage with private schools and re-integrate them into the Indian educational mainstream is an acknowledgement that the market cannot be trusted to deliver education with any degree of equity. To bring in additional resources, the 2010-11 Mid-Year Plan Review advocates deletion of the crucial stipulation that only non-profit educational trusts and charities may operate private schools. More recently, some educational trusts are alleged to be fronts for ‘for-profit' organisations that siphon off the profits, ploughing back little into improving infrastructure and teacher expertise. Formally allowing ‘for-profit' institutions to operate schools, even as they enjoy land, tax and infrastructure concessions, will merely legitimise this profiteering and deepen the systemic inequity along economic fault lines. If taken to its logical end, this could well kill the spirit of the RtE and the Directive Principles enshrined in our Constitution. Experience, national and international, tells us that private players in elementary education foster neither inclusiveness nor equity.

Education is a legal, collective and moral entitlement. When the middle class undertakes to share in this responsibility and ends its apathy to mass education, it may have earned the privilege of a private schooling system. In the process, government schools, responding to a more demanding constituency, are more likely to effectively meet the needs of not just the poor and the marginalised but of society at large.

(Hema Ramanathan is Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar, 2011-12, and Associate Professor, University of West Georgia. Her email ID is: and Parvathy's ID is: parvathy_pb@

December 14, 2011

School 'asks' 840 students to buy iPads

Mumbai:  We moved from blackboards to interactive boards and from there to laptops and now, it is the iPad2. - Vandana Lulla, Director, Podar International School

The government may be patting itself on the back for creating the world's cheapest, Android-based tablet Aakash at not more than Rs. 3,000, but the homegrown gizmo is clearly not the Apple of this posh city school's eye.

The middle and high school education at Podar International School in Santacruz seems ready to integrate Steve Jobs' legacy in daily learning. In a recent circular dated December 9, the school management informed parents that it has decided to introduce iPad2 in classrooms from the next academic year. While some parents welcomed the move, others feel the fancy tablet is not feasible for children.

The second edition of the iPad, which costs Rs. 40,000, is being introduced for the 840 students of Standard VI to XII. But, says director and principal of the school Vandana Lulla, the tablet is not mandatory. The school's circular, however, mentions no alternative for parents who are not entirely sold on the idea, activists point out (see box).

The circular states, "We are pleased to announce that the decision taken by the school management of using Apple iPad2 in the classroom by the students has been welcomed by the parent community. Parents now have the choice of either purchasing the iPad2 from the school on an outright basis or avail of a finance scheme on offer. You also need to indicate if the iPad2 will be purchased by you on your own. You are requested to mark your choice... to take further steps to initiate the process and negotiate the bulk order purchase."

But officials said that wards of parents who do not wish to buy it would have the option of learning on interactive boards that will continue to be used after the iPads are introduced. Those in favour of the idea can buy it on an EMI of Rs. 1,400 or on their own.

iDoubtSome parents have their reservations about the concept. K Mahesh (name changed), a parent of a pupil at Podar School, said, "I was a student once and I know what education is. If you change the syllabus, that is digestible. But if you change the system with some weird logic, it is problematic. I want my kid to follow the existing method of education that millions in this country are following, and setting a benchmark for others. I am not against the use of iPad. But I do no find it feasible for my kid."

Another parent, Sushma Shah (name changed), said, "I use an iPad and I know how difficult it is to handle."

Others argue the opposite. Tannu Kewalramani, PTA chairperson, Podar International School, said, "In a meeting last month, we were given a glimpse of how the iPad2 works and student reviews on it were mostly favourable. Introducing it is a good concept and a majority of parents are ready for it.

"When we use modern technology for even household chores, why not use it in education? As it is, students are more familiar with gadgets than we are."   

Principal speaks Lulla said, "After observing how gadget-savvy students have become and how they are familiar with iPads, I took the initiative to introduce the iPad2. It will help students to retain the content. They can download as many textbooks as they want. Further, a research by a laptop manufacturing company concluded that more use of technology has improved the performance of students in subjects like Biology, Chemistry, History, and Earth Science."
But why the iPad? "Because of two reasons. One, we have a parent working for Apple and, two, the iPad2 has the best applications," Lulla said. "We moved from blackboards to interactive boards and from there to laptops and now, it is the iPad2."

She continued, "The games application will be blocked in school when a child enters with the iPad2. After we took the decision to bring in the iPad2 earlier this year, we provided training to all our teachers, including me."

Acknowledging that a few are not in favour, Lulla said, "There are only 5-10 per cent of parents who do not want the iPad2. It is not mandatory and children of parents who do not buy it can learn from interactive boards." 

Expert saysJayant Jain, president of Forum For Fairness in Education and All India Federation of Parent Teacher Association, said, "If the school is so keen to bring in technology, parents should be given a choice to buy any company's tablet. But nowhere did the circular mention this. Nor did it say that parents who do not wish to buy their child an iPad2 could learn from interactive boards. This implies that it is mandatory for all. Also, the parent will have to bear the cost if the child drops and damages the expensive gadget. They are in a learning process, so why can't they be given cheaper tablets which can be updated by the school."

NumbersOn an average, there are 30 students in one class in Podar and each class has four divisions. As such, there are approximately 840 students in the school from grade VI to XII.

December 11, 2011

School shuts for a day as parents protest high fee

CHENNAI: A face-off between a city school and parents took an ugly turn on Wednesday when the institution remained closed after the Muharram holiday. While the management said this was because teachers were boycotting classes, parents said the latter had tried to coerce them to pay a fee higher than that proposed by the government-appointed fee determination committee.

The management of Alagappa Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Purasawalkam informed parents on Monday afternoon that it would be closed on Wednesday. An SMS communication to parents said, "As a result of the ill-treatment of teachers by a group of parents obstructing the entrance at the school, teachers are abstaining from conducting classes. They have expressed dissatisfaction with regard to their personal safety. The management is actively working to resolve these issues. Meanwhile, the school will not function for all students on Wednesday." Teachers complained that parents had abused them.

Parents said teachers refused to go inside the classes on Monday, and even after they did, they refused to take classes and instead went about their own work. When parents complained about this to the director of matriculation schools, the school management was asked to behave.

Later that day, parents were informed about the closure. Some parents turned up at the school on Wednesday morning. Finding the gate closed, around 150 parents and 30 students went to the directorate of matriculation schools and lodged a complaint.

Head of the student-parents welfare association of the school G Ramalingam said, "The management wants to divert the focus from the fee issue and is making a new allegation against parents."

The chairman of the fee committee had recommended that the director of matriculation schools issue a show-cause notice to the school asking why it should not be disaffiliated. He said the school had continued to ignore the directive of the committee to abide by the fee structure.

As a result of this, students who began the academic term late have lost two days. While Thursday has been declared a holiday for Karthigai Deepam, parents hoped the school would reopen on Friday.

Delhi schools to hike fee, parents anxious

Tuesday, December 23, 2008, (New Delhi)
Delhi schools continue to give the city sleepless nights. For those whose kids are in good schools, there is a bad news -- the schools want a whopping 30-40 per cent increase in fees by the end of this week.
Parents like Pranjali is getting ready to pay a whole lot more for her children's education. Her son and daughter both attend Modern School, which charges Rs 20,000 per month. And soon, that amount is likely to climb by at least Rs 6,000.

"It is going to be difficult. We have to see from where exactly the money would come? It's so much a burden for a single earner in the family. I can't even get a job at the age of 40.So we have to cut down vacation and outings in the weekend," she said.

All schools in Delhi are expected to announce a substantial hike in fees this week. The Sixth Pay Commission suggested a 50 per cent raise for schoolteachers. A Delhi government committee has been considering that proposal and will give its decision before Friday.

A lot of schools like KR Mangalam World School and Tagore International have already intimated parents about an expected hike in the fee without even getting it approved from the government.

The committee is likely to allow a fee hike of 30-40 per cent. But schools want more.

"This hike will not be enough to pay salaries to teachers. We also have to pay them their arrears since April 2006. Where do we pay them from? The new fees will apply retroactively from September this year," said R C Shekhar, Principal, Gyan Bharati School.

"They should hike it from next year so we also get some time to plan our budget. If this happens, we might have to pull out our children from expensive school to a cheaper one," said Hema Aggarwal, a parent. But that's unlikely to be the consensus in a city where good schools are on every parent's wishlist.

School fee hike: Absence of clear law fuels confusion

MUMBAI: A debate on school fees has been raging in the city for the past few years, with parents protesting against steep hikes and school administrations arguing for them citing rising salaries and expenses. Educationists and parents complain the absence of a clear law on fee regulation has added to the all-round confusion.

After a prolonged period of deliberation, the state government finally began releasing a series of government resolutions (GRs) in late 2010 to implement the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (regulation of collection of fee) Bill, 2011. But on every occasion its instructions were challenged in courts either by private unaided schools or parents.

"Rules mandate that we get the PTA's approval before hiking fees. At the same time, another rule asks us to pay our teachers as per the Sixth Pay Commission and pay them arrears for the past few years," asked Lalitha Hariharan, principal of Rizvi Springfield High School in Bandra (West). "In such a situation, how are schools supposed to generate money?" Many principals said that with no other source of income, schools have to depend on fees to make ends meet.

Over the last two years, there have been many instances where parents protested against schools hiking fees. "It's not just once or twice but time and again. The same schools have been pulled up for increasing their fees. Most times parents are helpless because the schools threaten to expel their children. How is it that the government is not taking any action against such schools?" said Arundhati Chavan, president of the Parent-Teachers' Association United Forum.

"The education department has shown no seriousness in this matter. For years, it caved in to bullying by schools," said Jayant Jain, president of the Forum for Fairness in Education.

Jain argued that after filing a PIL against 19 International Baccalaureate (IB) schools last year, the education department did not follow the order given by the Bombay high court. "The court had asked for balance sheets of all 19 schools but the state could only provide three balance sheets. Those documents showed how IB schools make crores in profits every year," he said. Jain said that his forum would file a fresh PIL next week against 50 schools for charging capitation fees and for commercialisation of education.

Rs 10L tag for Juhu school readmission

MUMBAI: Feuds between schools and parents over fees are turning increasingly bitter . A woman whose two children study at Ecole Mondiale World School at Juhu had to readmit them there in August after their names were struck off the roll for late payment of fees. In the bargain, she had to pay an additional Rs 10 lakh-about Rs 3.8 lakh more due to a revision in the fees, and a one-time payment of around Rs 6.5 lakh.

The parent admits that the cheque she wrote reached the school late but blames it on a misunderstanding . What upset her is that Ecole Mondiale did not inform her about its decision to remove her 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. Also , she says, it failed to provide her a copy of the school's policies and the contact details of the trustees .

Woman accuses school of 'expelling' kids without warning

Shaina Malhotra (name changed) says she was annually paying about Rs 20 lakh as fees for her two children before they were struck off the roll of Ecole Mondiale World School over late payment of fees. "This time, in the name of readmitting my children, I was asked to shell out close to Rs 30 lakh," she says.

Ecole Mondiale says it sent two reminders to Malhotra about the pending fees and tried calling her but her phone was unavailable. Subsequently , with no response, the school deleted the two pupils' names from their roll.

"If she accepted the readmission then (in August), why is she protesting now? Besides, all parents get copies of school policies at the time of admission, so why these complaints?" says Mahesh Gupta, manager, Ecole Mondiale .
"She has been threatening us to refund the fee differential or face the music."

The saga began on June 1 this year, when the school broke for vacation. The date was also the deadline for the payment of fees for the academic year commencing August 1. Malhotra, who is an NRI and shuttles between homes in London and Mumbai , says she sent a cheque through her office here before she left for London. "But due to some miscommunication , the cheque reached the school 18 days late. And without informing me about their action, my children's names were not considered for the academic year," she says.

On August 1, when the children went back to school after their return from London , they found their names deleted. With little choices left, Malhotra readmitted the children in Ecole Mondiale.

But the difference in fee numbers was significant. While she was earlier paying Rs 10.58 lakh and Rs 8.98 lakh as her daughter and son's fee respectively, this time she had to fork out Rs 11.68 lakh per child. She also had to give Rs 3.15 lakh per child as onetime admission charge besides Rs 12,000 as application form fees. In all, that is a difference of around Rs 10 lakh.

The state has formulated and, it says, implemented the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (regulation of collection of fee) Bill, 2011, though the president's approval is still awaited

Under this law, schools have to get their fee structure approved by the education department after submitting their balance sheets. The fees cannot exceed the amount authorized

Approval of Parent-Teachers Associations (PTA) is needed before a hike in school fees. If a PTA fails to agree on it within the stipulated time, the school is allowed to collect the fee of the previous year plus a 15% hike The factors to be considered while computing fees include available infrastructure, facilities provided, expenditure on administration and maintenance, yearly salaries, etc

December 9, 2011

Bill to regulate IB school fees awaits President's nod

MUMBAI: The state government on Wednesday informed the Bombay high court that presidential assent is awaited on a bill that will regulate fees of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a PIL filed by the Forum for Fairness in Education contending that international schools are charging students heavily, thereby violating provisions of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fees) Act 1987.

Among the schools named in the petition are Aditya Birla World Academy at Tardeo, B D Somani International School at Cuffe Parade, Garodia International School at Ghatkopar, Pawar Public School at Bhandup, Dhirubhai Ambani International School at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Pinnacle High International School at Malad, RBK International School at Chembur and Ecole Mondiale World School at Juhu.

International schools: Managements worry about cutting corners; parents at ease

The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2011, looming on the horizon of international schools has left managements in a tizzy.

International schools in Mumbai complain that its implementation will pose a challenge to maintenance of state-of-the-art infrastructure and high standards of education, if they are allowed only a 15% hike in fee — as has been laid down by the Act.

“The regulation should consider all perspectives like the huge gap between international schools and other schools due to the quality of education and teacher training, affiliation fees and salaries. So, it is not fair to keep the same bar for both,” argued V Balasubramanium, director, NES International School, Mulund.

Parents, though, are grinning from ear to ear, as the middle-class will now have easy access to affordable, good quality education. Schools are mulling over ways to cut corners to skim through the problem. Kalpana Patel, principal of the Savitridevi Hariram Agarwal International School, Kandivli, elaborated, “The new regulation will put more pressure on schools. We will have to cut and squeeze our expenses for activities like sports day and annual day.”

The biggest task, after the Act is enforced, will be convincing parents to loosen their purse strings. Vandana Lulla, director-principal of the Podar International School, said, “If the parents-teachers association grants permission, schools can hike fees. Schools should be transparent in giving reasons for such a hike. Schools need to work out a plan.”

Manjusha Nabar, whose son studies at the Gundecha Academy, Kandivli, says the regulation will stop schools from charging exorbitant fees, allowing parents from middle income group to also dream big for their children.

Raju Tirmallee, another parent from Dombivli, said several parents have had to take a loan to pay for school fees. “The regulation should bring capitation fees under control.”

PIL effect: International school fee to be regularised

If you toss and turn in bed worrying about the high capitation fee, running into lakhs of rupees, at your child's international school, help is on its way.

The state government, which has already cleared the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2011, is waiting for the President's nod to enforce it in international schools.

Informing the Bombay High Court of the pace of development, the additional government pleader said, "Both the houses of the state assembly and the council have voted in its favour and now, it has been sent to the President of India, which, as per my instructions, is pending."

Based on the government's statement, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R S Dalvi disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO, Forum for Fairness in Education, which had asked for a probe into the financial affairs of all international schools in Maharashtra.

The PIL pointed at the imbalance in fees charged by various international schools. While the Ecole Mondiale World (EMW) School, the Witty International School and the Aditya Birla World Academy (ABWA) charge Rs5,000 for processing the admission form for the pre-primary, the Jankidevi Public School and the Sharad Pawar International School take Rs7,000 and Rs5,500, respectively, for the same for classes I to X and junior college. The scales are also lopsided when it comes to admission fee.

Naming 19 such schools, the forum said they ask parents to shell out a hefty security deposit of as much as Rs2.50 lakh, even in the case of pre-primary and primary students.

It asked for CM Prithviraj Chavan's directives to all international schools to refund all capitation fee. The bench assured the NGO that its plea will be looked into once the Act is enforced.

November 28, 2011

RTE rules empower parents, with principal rider

NEW DELHI: Parents of schoolchildren and community members have been guaranteed a say in the running of city government and aided schools till Class VIII in the recently notified rules under the Right to Education Act. However, the same guideline has also made the principal of a school chairman of its managing committee, negating the guardians' power to a great extent, say parents and activists.

While 75% of the committee members will come from among guardians and community members, "making the principal its chairman is a step backward. Barring Andhra Pradesh, all states have implemented this provision with the principal being the convener of the committee and the chairman from among the parents. Even the central RTE Act also stated the same," said an official of the All India Parents' Association.

But the Delhi government's rules, notified on and enforced from November 23 under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, have many positives as well.

Besides talking elaborately on the composition and the responsibilities of the managing committee, the guideline has also taken the Right to Education beyond the elementary classes (till Class VIII), envisaged composite schools and inclusive education with special provisions for differently abled children.

According to the rules, the cost of education of the students from economically weaker section (EWS) will be reimbursed up to Class XII in private schools that have received government land at a concessional rate. This will mean that 384 private schools in Delhi will have to continue the education of the EWS category students beyond the elementary-education level.

"As per the Delhi Government rules based on a Delhi high court order, the private schools that have received land at concessional rate will have to admit 20% students from the EWS category and bear the cost of their education. As per the RTE Act, the schools need to admit 25% students under the EWS category. The new rules notified by the Directorate of Education, Delhi, stated these students will continue to study in the same school till Class XII. As the cost of education of 20% of these students is to be borne by the schools, the government will reimburse only 5% of these EWS students," said advocate-activist Ashok Agarwal.

Inclusive education has also received a boost with provisions for appropriate and free transport for disabled students till Class VIII in all government and aided schools. The rules specify that the government or the local authority will make appropriate and free transportation arrangements for these children.

The guideline also envisages composite schools so that a student can continue in the same school till at least the completion of elementary education. Hence, the government will upgrade schools having classes till V while those starting from Class VI will add the classes below it. "This will help curtail dropouts as the students will not have to shift schools mid-way," said Agarwal.

November 2, 2011

Parents protest against “smart class” programme

Parents of several students of St. Lawrence Convent School in Geeta Colony here have complained to the State Education Department asking for its intervention to stop what they claimed to be “serious psychological violence on hundreds of innocent children” by the school authorities in the guise of “smart class.''

Parents under the All India Parents' Association banner also met senior education officials this past week asking them to look into the matter. All India Parents' Association national president Mr. Ashok Agarwal said: “The school has increased the fees in the mid-session in the guise of smart class in clear violation of Section 17 of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973, as the school has not obtained prior permission from the Directorate of Education for increasing the fees. Moreover, when the parents objected to the illegal action of the school, the school resorted to discriminate their wards by separating their classes. Even 41 economically weaker section students were not spared by the school as they were declined the facility of educomp.''

No response
“We have tried to speak to the school authorities on the issue but there has been no positive response from them. The school authorities are harassing the students and if no immediate action is taken to check it would leave a permanent scar on the innocent minds,'' said a parent.

“The school has implemented a new "smart class" programme and is charging Rs.400 per month per student. And from mid-October onwards the school authorities have divided students as ‘educomp students' and ‘non-educomp students' which means that students who have not paid for the "smart class" are not allowed to sit with their classmates for merely Rs. 400. This is despite the fact that all students have already paid their quarterly school fee. We want the education authorities to intervene on the behalf of the parents as the school has refused to listen to our plea,'' added another parent.

The school authorities have refused to comment on the issue.

October 11, 2011

City schools, colleges face Telangana dilemma

HYDERABAD: Despite the call given by Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) to extend Dasara vacation in view of the ongoing separate state agitation, some private schools and colleges in the city are planning to reopen from Monday.

While many CBSE and ICSE schools in the city have decided to reopen, a few state schools also intimated their students that classes will commence from Monday. A majority of private colleges and other institutions affiliated to Osmania University will also start functioning from Monday.

However, many state syllabus schools, especially those located in areas including Kukatpally, Tarnaka and Abids have announced that they will not be functioning on Monday. The school authorities said that they will take a call on reopening of schools on Tuesday, if the situation is peaceful.

Meanwhile, many parents are agitated over the decision of some of the schools to remain closed even on Monday. While most schools in the city had a 20-day Dasara vacation this year due to Sakala Janula Samme, parents were expecting the schools to reopen on October 10. A group of 40 parents staged a dharna at Kukatpally Crossroads asking the school managements to reopen their institutions. They also approached the Kukatpally police on Sunday asking them to convince the school managements to reopen schools. The miffed parents also sought police protection to run schools and colleges in their area. However, the T-JAC on Saturday had asked schools and other educational institutions to remain shut in support of the Telangana agitation.

The schools have already lost 40 working days out of 221 due to the Telangana agitation. If the schools do not reopen on Monday and suspend classes for another week, they will not be able to make up for the lost working days, officials said. Considering parents' request, the Recognised Schools managements' association has sent a petition to the T-JAC asking them to exempt schools from the agitation. The association has also asked students' unions in the region not to disturb classes in those institutions that are reopening on Monday. Officials of some state schools said that while many of them might not reopen on Monday they could do so later this week.

"We need to study the situation and take a call," said a management representative. However, several CBSE and ICSE schools in the city have decided to reopen on Monday in spite of the bandh call. Schools including Jubilee Hills Public School, P Obul Reddy School, Glendale Academy, Meridian and Chinmaya Vidyalaya will reopen as per schedule on Monday, officials said.
Osmania University, has decided to reopen their campus, constituent and affiliated colleges on Monday, after the Dasara vacation, officials said. However, some of the affiliated colleges said that they will function only if RTC buses start plying.

Open schools immediately, parents urge Kiran

The verdict is unanimous. Schools and colleges should open immediately. The career of students should not be jeopardised for the sake of the Telangana agitation.

This is the overwhelming view of parents who met under the auspices of the Greater Hyderabad School Parents Association here on Monday. Irate parents threatened to knock the doors of the court if the government failed to ensure the students' fundamental right to education.

Under heavy police bandobust the parents held a meeting at a function hall in Masab Tank to express their angst at the continued closure of the educational institutions in the city.

They urged the Telangana protagonists not to play with the career of students and allow the schools and colleges to function normally. In a resolution, the meeting appealed to the Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to ensure that educational institutions are exempted from the ambit of bandhs and strikes.

According to Article 41 and 45 of the Constitution, it is the duty of the State government to ensure right to education. “Therefore, the Chief Minister is requested to ensure proper functioning of all educational institutions in the State and save the academic year of students,” the resolutions said.

It further asked the Chief Minister to provide safe passage to the students for the reaching the institutions through buses or their own conveyances. “We will meet the Chief Minister and convey our feelings,” said association president Liyaqath Hussain Razvi.

A large number of parents, including mothers, poured out their anger at the prolonged closure of schools. “How will the children cope with the lessons even if the management completes the syllabus. Is it not taxing on the young ones?” said Venkatalakshmi.

‘Political zulum'
Prof. Naveed, who works in an engineering college, termed it as ‘political zulum' on the common man. Another parent, G. Srinivas, was upset at the talk that loss of an academic year was nothing and said even a single day mattered. He wanted parents also to constitute a JAC to show their strength and put forth their demands.

Safi Quadri, executive member of the association, said students would be losers ultimately while Ravindra Tiwari said students would be at a disadvantage to appear for the competitive exams or to seek admission into foreign universities.

Some parents, who are also school correspondents, said continued closure of schools was putting managements to loss as they were obliged to pay salaries to the staff even though their institutions were closed.

October 10, 2011

Now, parents take excess fee war onto cyberspace, launch website

Oct 7, 2011, 03.03AM IST TNN | COIMBATORE
The simmering war between parents and school managements over the revised fee structure and refund of excess fee amount collected has now entered the cyberspace. The SBOA Parents' Welfare Association opened a web portal to highlight the discrepancies in the school fee structure on Thursday.

Apart from the fee issue, the portal is also being developed into a comprehensive website offering educational tips, online quizzes and also syllabus-related extra study materials that can be easily accessed for reference purposes.

"We wanted to ensure better coordination among our members. By creating a common platform, it will be easier for us to operate and keep everyone updated about the latest happenings," said R Manimohan, joint secretary, SBOA, Parents' Welfare Association.

The website,, bears a banner "Education for all and not for sale". It also has a detailed compilation of the parents' movement against excess fee collection and also the ongoing efforts to get the extra amount collected refunded to parents.

According to members of the Parents' Welfare Association, they were toying with the idea ever since they felt a strong need for better coordination amongst themselves so as to ensure that their efforts against relevant issues in the school education sector are addressed and tackled in a constructive manner . The site highlights the fact that the association have written to the school management on August 24 and October 2 seeking refund of excess fee collected in 2009-10.

"It is a comprehensive website and we want it to be a tool to aid the overall development of the children apart from their regular activities at school and home," said M Saravanan, joint secretary, SBOA, Parents' Welfare Association.

The site also has a flash news banner in which the latest development concerning the refund of excess fee amount and other major news related to the school education sector constantly flashing on the home page. The site has been designed and maintained by Janana Technologies Solutions, a city-based software firm.

According to the association members, the district unit of Students' Welfare Association of Parents (SWAP) have also expressed interest in putting up their activities on the online platform so as not to confine it to a single school alone.

The Coimbatore SWAP unit was primarily responsible for raising the issue of excess fee which had led to the formation of special fee determination committee by the state government.

School authorities and management representatives too welcomed the cyber initiative by parents to provide additional learning and recreational aid to children. But they claimed that as far as the school fee structure was concerned, it differs for individual schools.

"Even the government has agreed that if a school is providing additional facilities and teaching techniques, then it can collect fee in a fair manner from parents. Moreover, there is no compulsion for the parents to enrol their children in a particular school. They can always opt for a school with an agreeable fee structure," said R Visalakshi, president of Federation of Association of Private Schools, Coimbatore. 

October 9, 2011

Parents protest arbitrary fee hike in private schoools

New Delhi, October 09, 2011
Hundreds of people on Sunday held a demonstration outside Rajghat to protest "arbitary" fee hike by private schools in the national capital. The protest rally was organised by the All India Parents Association (AIPA) where the participants underlined the need to reform school education in the country.

The protesters demanded initiation of criminal proceedings against the 25 private school in the capital which were indicted by the CAG recently.

"The AIPA has also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking an effective central law to check arbitrary fee hike in unaided private schools as well as for upgrading all government schools to the level of central schools," a statement from AIPA said.

In the letter, AIPA demanded a Central Law to check arbitrary fee hike in unaided private schools and upgrading of all government schools to the minimum level of central schools.

October 7, 2011


Friday, October 7, 2011

All India Parents Association (AIPA)
The AIPA is organizing an ‘Aam Aadmi Dharna’ to highlight the need for reform in School Education System

The Dharna will be held at RAJGHAT on October 09, 2011 from 10.00 AM to 1.00 PM, to demand:

1. Removal of disparities between various Government Schools and up-gradation of AllGovernment run schools all over the country to the minimum level of Kendriya Vidyalayas (Central Schools).

2. Enactment of a Central Law to regulate the fees and other charges in unaided private schools all over the country.

3. Resolution by the State Assemblies in support of the above issues.

4. Initiation of criminal proceedings against the erring private school managements having been indicted by the CAG in its recent report in regard to 25 unaided private schools of Delhi.

What AIPA strives to Achieve
The AIPA and Private schools both realize that power of private  schools is derived from poor conditions in the Government schools. Falling standards in government schools push people towards private schools. In this kind of scenario on one hand where Private schools know that parents have no other choice, therefore they can exploit them. On the other hand, AIPA believes that salvation of children in all types of schools depends on improving government schools, and bringing about greater equity in quality of all categories of schools.
The objective of All India Parents Association (AIPA) is loud and clear - to work for the realization of the constitutional philosophy of equality, social justice and good quality education

About AIPA
All India Parents Association (AIPA) was formed out of the conviction that all children whether in Government schools or private schools, have a right to good education in environments where their rights are protected. If that does not happen, then parents who have entrusted their children to the system in good faith, can and should come together to support one another in ensuring a caring and responsive educational system. Wherever children’s and parents’ voices are heard, schools systems improve.

The Beginnings
In 1997, the unaided recognized private schools in Delhi on the pretext of Fifth Pay Commission recommendations increased fees from 40% to 400% which shocked the middle class whose wards were studying in these schools. For the first time in the history of India, the middle class came together and raised their voice against the arbitrary fee hike by the private schools. Consequently, an organization namely Delhi Abhivahak Mahasangh came into existence which took forward the case of the parents against their exploitation at the hands of the private schools. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed through Advocate Ashok Agarwal (National President AIPA) in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court highlighting the exorbitant, arbitrary and unjust fee hike by the private schools resulting in violation of the Right to Education of the children. The Hon’ble High Court in its Judgment dated 30.10.1999 rejected the arguments of the private schools and laid down parameters for determining justified fees.

During this case, it was strongly felt that one of the major cause of exploitation of the hapless parents by the private schools is that the standard of education in the Government schools has gone down tremendously and the exploitation at the hands of the private schools cannot be checked unless the standards of education in Government schools is improved to a satisfactory level.

The Achievements
Therefore in 1997 itself, another PIL highlighting the absence of basic amenities in the Government and Municipal schools in Delhi was filed in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. This petition was not only entertained but the Orders passed therein were monitored for more than 10 years by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. Thereafter many other PILs were filed in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court that resulted in to Regulation of Nursery Admission process, Admissions of EWS students in to the schools which have taken land on concessional rates from Government, Admission of Disable/ differently abled Students, Appointment of special teachers schools, Infrastructural facilities for Disable/ differently abled Students and Filling of vacancies of Teachers in Government/MCD Schools.

In 2008, once again the private schools not only in Delhi but all over the country increased fees arbitrarily on the pretext of Sixth Pay Commission. This time it had given rise to an agitation by the parents not only in Delhi but all over the country. The Delhi Government issued an order allowing unaided private schools to increase fee without first scrutinizing their accounts. Again a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed through Advocate Ashok Agarwal in 2009 in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court challenging the Delhi Governments arbitrary order. The Hon’ble High Court in its order dated 12-08-2011 upheld the contentions of the Parents and constituted a committee to audit the accounts of all the unaided private schools to see the justification of any Fee Hike. As a result of this PIL the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) for the first time exercised its statutory duty and audited the accounts of 25 unaided private schools in Delhi and in its report indicted 23 out of 25 schools for gross financial malpractices. With this rise of parents’ voices at an all India Level, the All India Parents Association came into being. Since then, the AIPA has undertaken several Dharnas,Rallies, Meetings, Seminars, etc. to highlight the issues relating to the Right to Education of all children.

How you can Help
The AIPA strongly feels that parents, students and teachers must unite together to achieve the ultimate goal of free and compulsory school education of good quality for all children.
While holding the Aam Aadmi Dharna at RAJGHAT on 9th October, 2011 between 10.00 AM to 1.00 PM, The AIPA also invites people at large and parents particularly to hold corresponding Dharnas in front of the State Assemblies on the same date and time to demand resolution from the Assemblies in support of the aforementioned issues and to send the same to the Central Government.

All India Parents Association (AIPA)
Agarwal Bhawan, G. T. Karnal Road, Tis Hazari, Delhi‐110 054
+91 9811101923, +91 9810133325

October 6, 2011


SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN organized by ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION (AIPA) in coordination with SOCIAL JURIST on the occasion of AAM AADMI DHARNA at RAJGHAT DELHI on 09TH OCTOBER 2011 to highlight its following demands for the reforms in Education System.
1. Up-gradation of all Government Schools all over the country to the level of Kendriya Vidyalayas (Central Schools).
2. Enactment of Central Law to regulate fees in unaided private schools
3. Resolutions by all State Assemblies in favour of the bringing Central law to Regulate Fees in Unaided Private Schools.
4. Initiation of criminal action against the all the unaided schools in Delhi having been indicted by the recent ‘CAG Report on top 25 unaided schools’.

ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION (AIPA) planned to get more than one Lakh Signatures supporting these demands. If you support the above mentioned demands raised by the ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION (AIPA) please carry this signature campaign to all corners of the country. You are requested to print a copy of the demands on a paper or a chart paper and collect as many signatures as possible and send them to Ashok Agarwal Ch.No. 478-479 Lawyers Chamber Western Wing Tis Hazaari Courts, Delhi-110054. Ph.9811101923.

School slaps ‘property tax’ on students, parents move court

New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) Parents of children studying in a private school in east Delhi have moved the Delhi High Court challenging the institution’s decision to collect from them Rs.430 per month as ‘property tax’.

Justice Kailash Gambhir Monday issued notice to St. Lawrence Convent Senior Secondary School, the Delhi government and government auditor seeking their response on the issue by Nov 22.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has been questioned by the court for allegedly failing to audit the accounts of the school, as per its earlier order on scrutiny of finances of private schools.

The petitioners alleged that the school earlier levied on them SMS and maintenance charges.

‘The parents have been forced to pay Rs.171 as SMS charges, and Rs.1,050 as maintenance charges which are also not permissible in law,’ said the petition.
Petitioners’ advocate Ashok Agarwal said: ‘The school has arbitrarily, illegally and without any justification not only increased fee and other charges in the academic years, 2010-11 and 2011-12, but also forced hapless parents to pay on account of ‘property tax’ which is not permissible in law.’

‘The school has not only illegally increased the fee and other charges but has gone on to levy around Rs.430 per student towards ‘property tax’ in the fee slip for July-September 2011 which is impermissible in law,’ he said.

‘The school increased the fee in the middle of the session of 2010-11, without taking prior permission from the directorate of education of the Delhi government,’ said the petition.

‘The school in the academic year 2010-11 increased the tuition fee by 12 percent and in the academic year 2011-12 by another 40 percent without any justification,’ he said.

The petition said the court should direct the Delhi government and the CAG to audit the school’s accounts from 2008-09.

September 26, 2011

Panel to check if schools’ fee hike justified

The Delhi government has notified a panel to look into the accounts of city’s unaided, private schools in order to ascertain the justifications of their fee hike.

The move comes after a direction by the Delhi High Court last month. It will allow parents to review the justification of the steep fee hike by Delhi’s private schools since 2006.

The notification was issued on Friday by the government’s Education department, specifying the members of the committee and their terms of reference. As ordered by a division bench of Justices A K Sikri and Siddharth Mridul, retired Justice Anil Dev Singh has been named as the chairperson of the three-member panel. The panel will look into the extent of fee hike required by each school on the implementation of the VI Pay Commission.

The court had also named chartered accountant J S Kochar as the second member of the panel and Delhi’s Chief Secretary has nominated Dr R K Sharma, retired Additional Director of Education, as the third member.

September 25, 2011

Private schools charging a whopping Rs 30,000 for food expenses

HYDERABAD: Here is a breakfast that should not be skipped, at least going by its price tag where a half cup of 'upma', one fruit and one salad per person costs about Rs 400. This is not the rate of breakfast in a star hotel but charged by some private schools in the city. Drilling a hole into the pockets of parents, several schools in the city are now charging as much as Rs 30,000 per quarter towards what is called 'food expenses', a compulsory item in the annual fee chart.

Though select city schools have been providing food to students since a decade now, however, their breakfast and lunch budgets have increased by 20 to 30% in the last three years. In fact, some schools charge a huge amount even from parents of kindergarten and primary school children, conveniently ignoring the low quantity of food served to them. While school authorities blame inflation and management charges for the rising cost, parents clamour for a reasonable budget plan.

In spite of charging a bomb, the breakfast lists of most schools are usually deficient. A quick look at most menu cards reveal that the quantity of food served is mostly rationed. For instance, in one of the schools located in Madhapur, the breakfast menu has two slices of toasted bread, jam and a fruit for as high as Rs 150 a person. Another school charges around Rs 300 for what they call the Indian meal, three poories or two rotis with a side dish. There are schools that charge about Rs 200 from students for serving them tamarind rice or even tomato rice.

While the price on the menu might sound outlandish and could be even higher than the breakfast rates in some of the busiest restaurants in the city, parents say that about 20 to 35% of the annual fee goes towards the food budget. "Some of us are spending as much as Rs 30,000 per quarter on just the food expenses. There are schools that charge much more than this from parents," said mother of a Class VIII student from the city. Parents said that if the schools do not make food compulsory, students would perhaps get a taste of healthy food. "Students, especially those in lower classes do not like the same old items that are served for breakfast and lunch over and over again," said a parent. The compulsory breakfast regime where students are not allowed to get food from home exists in most international schools in the city.

Some CBSE and ICSE schools that offer breakfast and lunch for students hike prices even when there is a very small variation in market prices. "With the food served in school costing so much, we have decided to make one parent representative monitor the mess menu and expenses. The expenses came down drastically after this was implemented," said a parent whose child studies in an international school.

The school authorities, however, have a different take on the price issue. "Maintaining a kitchen and staff is really expensive and the schools cannot run their kitchens at a loss. The same parents who complain about the tariffs would raise a hue and cry the moment we suggest the withdrawal of this facility," said the principal of a Serilingampalli-based school. Officials said that breakfast and lunch facilities cannot be made optional as one needs a minimum number of takers to run a kitchen.

"Schools must have separate toilets’

Apex Court Seeks Affidavits From Chief Secretaries For Fixing Time Limit

New Delhi: After ensuring drinking water in all government schools by fixing October 15 as the deadline, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday took the next step by asking the states and Union territories to fix a time period within which boys and girls would get separate toilet facilities.
A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma did a roll call of the states and UTs about drinking water facility in government schools and complimented states which have achieved cent per cent target. Those who passed with flying colours, sadly after 64 years of independence, were the BJP and non-Congress ruled Bihar, Gujarat, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Congress-ruled Maharashtra too joined the NDA states in providing water in every school.
But, BJP-ruled Karantaka, BSP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana and Rajasthan were asked by the bench to provide drinking water to students by October 15. West Bengal had provided drinking water in all districts except Darjeeling.
Justices Bhandari and Verma patiently explained to the education secretaries of the erring states the importance of providing drinking water and other infrastructure in schools and suggested that they draw the chief minister's attention. “Without drinking water facility, the schools are as good as closed,” they said.
The bench said the importance of toilets in schools — separate one for girls — was intrinsic to right to education. “Wherever the schools have separate toilets for the girls, the enrolment is high,” it said and asked the chief secretaries to file an affidavit by October 15 stating the time period within which this facility would be put in place in every government school. The proceedings came on a PIL filed by Environmental and Consumer Protection Foundation, which through advocate Ravindra Bana had initially complained about lack of water in government and municipal schools in Delhi.
Senior advocate R K Khanna informed the bench that every government and municipal school in Delhi now has water, electricity and toilet facility.

Time of India | Hyderabad | 24th September, 2011 | Page 15

September 19, 2011

State can have a say in pvt school fee hike: HC

MUMBAI: Private unaided schools cannot have it their way entirely when it comes to fixing fees. They have the discretion to fix their own fees without prior state approval, but the state can step in to regulate the fees if the school management recovers from students any "unusual expense, such as exorbitant expenditure on building rent", the Bombay High Court ruled on Friday. The HC rejected a challenge by Vibgyor High School and charitable trust Rustom Kerawalla Foundation to the authority of the state deputy director of education in deciding on its fee hike, and upheld a 2009 order by the officer directing the school to lower its fees to an amount he fixed.

The HC judgment essentially upholds the principles of the Capitation Fee Act, hits out against commercialization by private unaided schools and makes it clear that schools "run the risk of legal action under the Act if they to pass on any of its 'unusual expenses' to students without an approval from the state". The HC held, "Institutions can receive or collect fees to compensate the "usual expenditure" incurred by it as approved by the State Government. No more and no less." It said expenditure on lands and buildings or any other items as the state may notify is plainly excluded from being charged in the form of fees. The school and the Trust had challenged, through separate petitions, two 2009 orders of the Maharashtra deputy director of education against the school's steep fee hike to recover Rs 2.5 crore annual rent it paid for the school building.

Deputy director V K Wankhede had disallowed the school to recover through fees its exorbitant building rent paid to a company whose directors were the same trustees from the Kerawalla family. He directed the Goregaon ICSE school to charge lower fees of Rs 54,598 per year for primary and Rs 61,149 for secondary, from 2008-09. The school argued that a deputy director had no jurisdiction to decide the school's fees unless the state first approves the fee structure of every individual private unaided school. The state cannot delegate or depute to any officer or body its task to approve fees, the school contended. Besides, it said, the deputy director had been asked by the HC, through an earlier order, to look into a July 2007 complaint made by parents against the school, which questioned its education standard and safety aspects but not fee hike issue.

Parents alleged the school trustees wanted to siphon off funds under the guise of rent.

Finding no merit in the school's challenge, the HC disposed both petitions, with costs. The HC held, "The complaint dated July 19, 2007, by parents included an issue regarding excessive fees being charged by the school." And held, "The Deputy Director was competent to examine that grievance to ascertain whether there is or has been contravention of the provisions of the Capitation Fee Act." The court noted the school had also not furnished the education department with any documents on the rent despite being requested to.

The HC bench of Justices Ajay Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar held that in the absence of the state's approval, the school management would now have to produce all details about its rent payment for scrutiny and approval of the state.

No fee hike in private schools : Orissa HC

CUTTACK: The Orissa high court said all private schools in the state, including the English medium institutions, should abide by the provisions of Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 and coming under Orissa Education (OE) Act.

The state government had in April 2009 allowed the English medium schools to increase their school fees by 25 per cent and their development fees by 15%. Delivering a verdict pertaining to DAV school fee hike case, a single-judge bench of Justice M M Das said all the private schools in the state, including the English medium ones, are under the purview of Orissa Education Act, thereby refusing to accept the contention of DAV school management that they do not come under the OE Act.

The high court also directed the state to form a high-level committee under the head of director, School and Mass Education, within four months to look into the fee structure of all private schools. "The private schools wishing to make any change in their fee structure shall apply to the committee which, in turn, shall dispose off the applications within 90 days," the HC said.

In last April, the court had reserved the verdict after completion of hearing.

The judge thus struck down the earlier notification of the DAV management asserting that the schools should continue with their fee structure of 2008-09 academic year. The decision of the state and subsequent fee hike notification of DAV school management was challenged in Orissa High Court by Parents' Association of Cuttack-based DAV school terming these (fee hike) "uncalled for, unilateral and arbitrary."

HC sets up panel to look into school fee hike

NEW DELHI: Schools in the capital will now be subjected to greater financial scrutiny. Delhi high court on Friday set up a three-member panel headed by a former judge to examine the legal validity of fee hike by
private schools from 2006 onwards.

A division Bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul said till the committee decides on the validity of the fee hike, the government's notification permitting unaided private schools to hike their tuition fees will be valid.

The committee, headed by former judge Anil Dev Singh, will audit the accounts of each school to ascertain if the hike was required. It will scrutinise the accounts of minority schools as well. "If the committee finds that the hike was not required, schools are bound to return the money to students with 9 per cent interest rate," the Bench said. The panel will also comprise J S Kochar, a chartered accountant, and an official from the directorate of education, to be nominated by the Delhi government's chief secretary.

The Bench made it clear that the city government's 2009 notification will be treated as an interim measure but it would be subject to the scrutiny. "The guiding principle is "to strike a balance between autonomy of such institutions and measures to be taken to avoid commercialisation of education." The autonomy can be ensured by giving first right to such schools to increase the fee. At the same time, the quantum of fee to be charged by unaided schools is subject to regulation by the DoE," the Bench observed.

HC rejected demands by the petitioner for a greater say of the parents association in the financial management of the school by the management and suggested the state government create a permanent regulatory authority, either by amending the Education Act or by enacting a new legislation, to resolve the issue of periodic hike in tuition fee. It also suggested the Central government to frame a `National Policy On Fees' for unaided schools.

The Bench's order came on a PIL which had alleged that despite CAG's indictment of 25 private schools for accounting malpractices including faking losses, the government has allowed them to hike tuition fee.

HC was hearing a PIL filed by Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh through its counsel Ashok Aggarwal, challenging the government's decision to allow schools to hike tuition and development fees.

The government notification, which was issued on February 12, 2009, had said that any school, which was charging a monthly fee of Rs 500, will be allowed to hike Rs 100. Likewise, any school charging a monthly fee of Rs 1,000 will be allowed to effect a maximum hike of Rs 200. Schools with a monthly fee of Rs 1,500 were allowed to hike tuition fees by Rs 300 and those having a fee structure ranging from above Rs 1,500 to Rs 2000 were allowed to hike it by a sum not more than Rs 400. The rest of the schools - with monthly fees of more than Rs 2,000 - were allowed to hike it by Rs 500. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the hike ranging from a minimum of Rs 100 to a maximum of Rs 500 in the schools to ease their financial burden due to hike in teachers salaries as per Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

Audit of private schools: HC notice to govt for not notifying panel

NEW DELHI: Accusing the state government of deliberate delay in empowering a Delhi high court-appointed panel tasked with carrying out audit of private schools, a parents' association on Friday moved HC, seeking implementation of its orders.

The association blamed the government of being slack in notifying the committee , and alleged that it had not even begun the job of providing the committee with manpower to serve its purpose.

A division bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notice to the government, seeking its reply by September 9. Earlier, the same bench had issued directions to set up a committee headed by former judge Anil Dev Singh to audit the accounts of each of the schools to ascertain if the hike was required. The bench authorized the committee to scrutinize the accounts of minority schools, too. That order had come on a PIL, which alleged that despite CAG's indictment of 25 private schools for accounting malpractices , including faking losses, the city government had allowed them to hike tuition fee.

"If the committee finds that the hike was not required, the schools are bound to return the money to students with 9% interest ," the bench had said in a 143-page verdict on August 12. The committee also comprises J S Kochar, a chartered accountant , and an official from the Directorate of Education, to be nominated by the Delhi chief secretary.

September 5, 2011


AIPA extended core committee has today decided to hold a Peaceful Dharna on Sunday 09.10.2011 at Rajghat, New Delhi  from 10 am to 1 pm demanding
(i) Upgradation of all Govt Schools all over the country to the level of Central Schools,
(ii) Enactment of a Central Law to Regulate Fees in Unaided Private Schools,
(iii) Resolutions by all State Assemblies in favour of the Bringing Central law to Regulate Fees in Unaided Private Schools and
(iv) Initiation of criminal action against the all the unaided schools having been indicted by the recent ‘CAG Report on top 25 unaided schools’.

Plans to have this protest across the country near respective state assembly's.