HYDERABAD: IN a first, a renowned private school has slashed its fees by more than 50 per cent from the next academic year. Before you consider it an act of philanthropy, it may be noted that in an ongoing case between the Forum Against Corruption and the school, Delhi Public School, Mahendra Hills was found guilty of charging exorbitant fees in an investigation by the State Education Department. Faced with the option of a three-year jail term for violation of norms, the school management decided to rethink its fees in lieu of having the case against them dropped.
From charging Rs 1.22 lakh for pre-primary in 2017-18 the school will now levy Rs 57,000 for the section from 2019-20 academic year.Speaking to Express, District Education Officer of Hyderabad, B Venkata Narasamma, said that on the basis of a complaint they started their investigation in which it was found that management was not paying the salaries of the teachers as per the GO MS 1 and was charging a generalised tuition fee that includes other components also like fees for different extracurricular activities.
“This is a violation and accordingly we slapped them with a notice seeking a reply as to why action should not be taken against them. In response, the management has slashed the fees,” explained the DEO.
While this will be applicable only to the Mahendra Hills branch of DPS, the DEO admitted that they will have to scrutinise the audit books of other schools too as they could be more such cases.
Interestingly, audit reports are submitted every year to the DEO’s office but the office never found any lapses.Though the school has proposed to cut down its fee between 53-58 per cent, Vijay Gopal, founder of Forum Against Corruption said that by law anyone found guilty is liable for three years imprisonment.
“They also confessed that they had included other fees like skating fees and other optional fees. When cornered on the issue of donation they were left with no choice but to slash the fee,” said Vijay Gopal.