Delhi school fee hikes on table again as government eases curb

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The Delhi government has asked schools to submit plans, if any, to increase their fees, paving the way for what could lead to the first increase in what parents pay for their child’s education after two years when these were frozen due to the pandemic.

The directorate of education (DoE) issued a circular saying submissions are now open for fee revisions for the 2022-23 academic session. This process applies to private schools running on government land, and includes some of the Capital’s most prominent institutions.

“The proposal submitted by the schools shall be scrutinised and examined by the director of education…All such schools are strictly directed not to increase any fee until a sanction is conveyed to their proposal,” said a letter by Yogesh Pal Singh, deputy director of education, Private School Branch to the heads of these schools.

The letter added schools will not be able to increase their fees if do not submit a proposal.

In case no proposal is submitted in response to this order, the school shall not increase its fee for the academic session 2022-23. Any complaint regarding an increase of any fee without such prior approval will be viewed seriously and action shall be taken as per the statutory provisions and directions of the high court, including a request to DDA for cancellation of the lease deed executed in favour of the defaulter school’s society,” wrote Yogesh Pal Singh, deputy director of education, Private School Branch.

In the past two academic years, school education was largely hampered due to the pandemic, with most of the classes during this period being held online. All schools, whether on government or private land, were directed not to increase fees during this period. While schools on private land are free to revise their fees, those on government land (owned by the Delhi Development Authority) need the DoE’s approval to do so as per land lease conditions enforced by a Delhi High Court order in 2016.

The proposals need to be submitted through an online service between June 12 and June 27.

“Any complaint regarding an increase of any fee without such prior approval will be viewed seriously and action shall be taken as per the statutory provisions and directions of the high court, including a request to DDA for cancellation of the lease deed executed in favour of the defaulter school’s society,” Singh’s letter cautioned.

Sudha Acharya, the chairperson of the National Progressive School Conference (NPSC) that has over 120 Delhi schools as members, including Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Bal Bharati Public School, Springdales School, Sanskriti School, Delhi Public Schools, Ahlcon International School, and Amity International School, said that many schools were expected to submit proposals for a fee hike this year.

“During the pandemic, schools were not allowed to hike fee at all. Even before that, our proposals for fee hike had not been approved. For the past five years, there has been no fee hike,” said Acharya, principal of ITL Public School, Dwarka.

She added that school managements will deliberate on the issue.

“Matters pertaining to fee hike are decided by the management. However, one thing is for sure that many schools will be submitting proposals since they have been paying teachers as per the 6th pay commission due to paucity of funds,” said Acharya.

Rashmi Raj Biswal, principal, DAV Public School, Pushpanjali Enclave, said that schools were facing challenges on various fronts since they had not been allowed to increase fee for a long time. “We are facing immense trouble in giving out salaries and increments. A lot of arrears are pending. The school infrastructure also needs maintenance, and we require funds for undertaking work. During the last few years, we were not allowed to send in any proposals for fee hike due to the pandemic. But in pre-pandemic years as well, our proposals for fee hike were not accepted,” said Biswal.

Aprajita Gautam, president, Delhi Parents Association, said any proposals for fee hikes during the middle of the session will be uncalled for.

Opposing the move, she said, “During the pandemic as well, schools both on government and non-government land increased the fee despite orders barring schools. Parents even staged protests but to no avail. The government needs to seek proposals for any such fee hike at least an year before so that parents are not inconvenience. Parents may not be able to afford increased fee. How will they look for another school in the middle of the year? “



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