The Forum Against Corruption accused these schools of collecting exorbitant fees from parents as tuition fees by adding non-academic activities without an option of opting out.

Forum petitions against 36 private schools in Telangana for exorbitant irregular feesImage for representation
news Education Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 14:53

The Forum Against Corruption (FAC) in Telangana has filed mass petitions against 36 private schools in Telangana with the District Collectors of Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Medchal districts. The Forum has accused these schools of collecting exorbitant fees from parents as tuition fees by adding non-academic activities into the package without giving parents the option to choose between these non-academic activities or opt out.

“[This has led to] exploitation of parents, causing immense financial burden and violating the rules set by the government […],” said a FAC media release. Several prominent schools including Jubilee Hills Public School – Jubilee hills, SR Digi School – Tarnaka, Delhi Public School (DPS) Khajaguda, DPS Nacharam, DPS Diamond Point Secunderabad, have been named among the 36 schools by FAC.

These schools have allegedly been charging more than Rs 85,000 to Rs 1.15 lakh per year as tuition fee. “The schools are also not providing any choice to the parents to choose from different types of sports activities they offer viz. (karate, boxing, taekwondo, skating, etc.),” FAC alleges. “The schools also charge Rs 35,000 for bus services,” it adds, explaining that since this is another kind of fee, the school is mandated to have a separate bank account. It demands that this account’s statement be investigated so as to assure that providing transportation for students is not just “another business model for the school.”

Apart from this, FAC President Vijay Gopal, also said that the schools, are compelling parents to buy books and uniforms from the management than from places where they may find the items at a lower price.

“Of the schools that we have named, eight of them already have cases of cheating against them from before,” Vijay said. These include schools such as SR Digi School, DPS Khajaguda, Manthan International School and DPS Nacharam have cases registered against them under IPC section 420 (cheating), he added.

Some of them have previously been investigated by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as well. For instance, an investigation from August 2018 into a complaint against Narayana school in Hyderabad for charging a high capitation fee from parents by the NCPCR, Delhi, found that the school had been violating a Government Order (GOM).

Essentially, Vijay explains, no matter how much the school is making financially, some percentage of it has to be allocated for things like maintenance, staff benefits and so on. The investigation into Narayana school found that as per rule 18(4)(b) of GO 1 from 1994, school management could spend 15% of the fee collected on maintenance of the school, but Narayana school was spending 36.6% of the same for that purpose. Instead of 50% fee being allocated for salaries of staff, the school was spending 42%. And instead of spending 15% of the fee collected towards staff benefits as per norms, the school was spending only 1.9%.

FAC alleges that other schools, which are charging exorbitant fees, are flouting norms similarly.

“Almost all schools are not following it (GO 1 of 1994). Schools in Telangana have stopped mentioning their affiliation number, syllabus on their boards, which used to be visible conspicuously about a decade ago. This must be strictly implemented,” FAC urges.

Among their other demands, FAC has said it should be confirmed if schools as CBSE, and if so, they should provide affiliation numbers and follow the authorized syllabus. Schools should also confirm is they have been making profits along with account statements validating the same. FAC has also urged for authorities to push schools to display their tuition fee breakup as mandated under Government Order 91 from 2009.

Their other demands have to do with maintaining qualification standard of teachers, student-teacher ratio under RTE, and to return all the money of parents if found to be collected in excess, along with the school management being booked under section 420 of the IPC as well as relevant sections of the Telangana State Education Institutions Act 1983.

Vijay said that they were not going to take the schools’ exorbitant and non-transparent monetary demands lying down. If the authorities fail to act on these mass petitions, the FAC would file negligence cases against District Education Officers, he added.

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