Terming the Supreme Court’s order on private schools as “historic”, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today warned that Delhi government will take strict action against those schools which don’t comply with the apex court’s judgement. Sisodia, who also holds charge of the Education department, said private schools should focus on teaching students rather than making education a business. Addressing a press conference, he said that there are several discrepancies in fee and admission of private schools and said that Delhi government wants them to get transparent in their admission processes and fee hikes
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The Deputy Chief Minister’s remarks came hours after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal of committee of private unaided schools, located on land alloted here by DDA, challenging a Delhi High Court order asking them to take government’s prior nod before hiking fees.
Hailing the court’s order, the Deputy CM said, “We don’t have personal enmity with private schools and are also not against them. Government just wants to keep their (schools) free and admission process in a transparent manner.”
He said that private schools cannot harass parents in the name of fee and asserted that despite the SC’s order, if schools don’t follow rules, government has several tools to take strict action against them.
Sisodia said that government will support fee hikes if the processes are transparent and has proper rationale behind the move. He also said that in 2004, SC had also ordered private schools to comply with terms and conditions in their land allotment letters, but it was never implemented by the previous government.
“If they have some issues with the terms and conditions in their land allotment letters, they can return this land to government and we can run a good school,” he said.
Sisodia said that in a recently-conducted audit by government-appointed CAs, it was revealed that most private schools had surplus funds of up to Rs 5 crore.
“If they have surplus funds, why there is a need to pile up money and harass parents. If they don’t have enough expenditures, why they are demanding to increase fees.
“We are not talking about closing private schools. We are not creating disturbance in the functioning of private schools, but if you (schools) have a pile up of Rs 5 crore, why they are charging exorbitant fees from the parents,” the Deputy CM told reporters.
He also warned that if privates schools think that they can take land worth crores of rupees from government and then don’t follow terms and condition in allotment letters, we will not allow you to charge exorbitant fees, adding that this will not happen in this government.
“This is a historic decision for those parents whose children are studying in private schools…I want to give them (schools) suggestions that government can cooperate with you, but you will have to completely transparent in fee process,” he said.
Sisodia also said that government is not asking private schools how much fee they should charge from parents and instead, we are just asking them to take fee in lieu of what they have spent money on their expenditures.
“In audit, we have got to know that many of the schools have diverted their funds. We have not allowed them to increase fees. 140 schools have surplus funds. They have diverted their funds to their mother trusts and parallel trust. They have done irregularities.
“They should stop this. They should have some responsibilities towards parents and their children. Instead of focusing on earning money, they should focus on teaching students.,” the Deputy CM added.
He said the government did not give these private schools land to earn money.
“If you (schools) support us, government will also support you, but if you continue to do irregularities, government will not support,” he added.
Sisodia further said that if schools think that they have more expenditure and want to increase fee then they should apply for increasing fee with government which will cross-check with their expenditure through its chartered accountants.
While dismissing the plea of the committee of private unaided schools, located on land alloted here by DDA, the Supreme Court said, “You (schools) are on their (government) land. Why won’t you seek their permission before hiking fees.”
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools which had challenged the January 19 last year order of the high court. The Delhi High Court, in its order, had said that private unaided schools on land alloted by the DDA have to take prior government sanction before hiking fees and “schools cannot indulge in profiteering and commercialisation” of education.
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