Representatives of budget private schools on Wednesday criticised the Delhi government’s decision to take over the 449 private schools which were told by the Delhi High Court to pay back the excess fees charged from students.
A total of 531 privately owned and run schools, including some of the most elite of the city, were identified by Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee last year as ones that charged excess fees from the parents to accommodate the wages of their staff following the implementation of Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations.
The committee had asked the schools to pay back the extra money charged from the parents, after having paid the staff as per the revised wages.
“We will not allow taking over of even a single school. This is just a tactic of the Delhi government of hiding its failures. It does not think about the children’s education at all,” Kulbhushan Sharma, President, National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), told the media persons here.
Sharma said that the current policies of the Delhi government barely left small private school owners with any money since they were not allowed to charge higher fees.
He claimed that budget private schools constituted as much as 60 per cent of the total number of schools in the city, and having been established at a time when there was a great dearth of education facilities, they should be rewarded instead.
The schools’ rights body demanded that in government schools, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) be made to the students’ accounts instead of spending money on him or her.
“We want the children and parents to have the freedom to choose where they want to study. Give them DBT, this will foster competition which will only benefit the education,” said Sharma.
Budget private schools are small schools which mostly cater to the people from the lower strata of the society. A representative present at the press meet said that these schools charged as little as between Rs 200 and Rs 1,000 per month from the parents.
Sharma said they had met Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia with their complaints a number of times in the last one year, but all they received in return were assurances and no concrete action.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last month proposed to take over the 449 schools which had not paid back the excess fees charged. The decision also got the nod of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
The government’s threat rankled the NISA and allied associations because those told to return the excess fees comprised only a handful of big schools, and mostly were small budget private schools, which claimed they “have no other way of paying wages but to increase the fees”.
NISA also announced a “big demonstration” at Ramlila Maidan in November.