Notwithstanding the government’s claims to frame a fee structure for private schools, parents of students continue to be fleeced on a number of pretexts. Proliferating private educational institutions and the government’s failure to monitor key aspects of their functioning have sparked grave public concern, particularly when some schools have taken to imposing annual fees ranging from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.
Despite its announcement with regard to a fee structure, the government has taken no steps till date, practically giving private schools free rein to charge exorbitant rates. Tariffs – as some institutions unabashedly operate as business centres and purely commercial ventures – at times rival those of the highest-ranked schools in Delhi, but without matching performance in academics.
Most of these schools are run directly or indirectly by the kith and kin of top leaders of the ruling alliance who have been instrumental in blocking the government’s moves to legislate regulations on fees and other issues. Middle-ranked schools that hitherto charged reasonable fees too have been encouraged by this to jump into the race, and now demand admission fees to the tune of Rs 25,000 and monthly tuition fees of Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. This nexus between politicians and managements of private schools is one of the reasons of the government’s silence on the issue and its refusal to take cognizance of severe public resentment.
Demands are growing for the government to frame legislation on fee structures by placing private schools in graded categories. The law should have strict provisions to curb mercenary and exploitative policies of school managements. Though private schools publish their `fee structure’ in local newspapers every year, they do not follow them in actual practice. Authorities concerned need to take note of such irregularities, and bring violators to book.