No Kid Stuff This: Exorbitant Fees Even for Tinytots in Adilabad District
ADILABAD: The state government has initiated a process to take serious steps against private schools which are being run for years without recognition from the district education department and also steps to control the collection of exorbitant fees in districts as in the state capital. According to source, there are 4,762 government and private schools in the district. Most of the private schools are mainly in Adilabad, Nirmal, Mancherial, Bhainsa, Kaghaznagar as well as at the mandal headquarters and major gram panchayats. Of the 900- odd private schools in the district, more than 42 are unrecognised. The 900 private schools together have a student strength of 1,78,000. The 3,862 government schools have a cumulative student strength of 2,73,710. The district education department issued orders to the managements of private schools seeking information on the fee being collected from students, the qualifications of teachers, etc and asking them to submit the information to the mandal education office in the case of mandal-level schools and to the district education office in towns. The government has fixed a fee of Rs 750 a month per student for classes 1 to 5 in schools situated in towns and Rs 650 in rural areas. The fees for high school students (classes 6 to 10) are Rs 1,000 in towns and Rs 900 in rural areas. However, a majority of private schools do not follow the fee structure fixed by the government nor the rules and regulations framed by the government. Many parents like Kalpana and Sd Ameen feel that school managements are collecting funds in the name of extra-curricular activities and the government should put an end to this exorbitant fee collection by devious methods. They say that the parents of a nursery student are asked to shell out Rs 14,000 in tuition fee in addition to a donation of Rs 5,000. The managements charge a further Rs 1,860 for supply of books and uniform, and charges under other miscellaneous heads cost more. Thus, a parent has to pay the school somewhere around Rs 23,000 a year for the tiny tot. Managements put up the fee details chart on the notice board and yet education department officials look the other way. Parents complain that for a Class-I student the tuition fee is Rs 16,600 and there are other charges, making the total payment about Rs 25,000 which they find hard to bear. The fee has been hiked by about 10 percent this year. Speaking to Express, Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU) district general secretary P.Chanti said district educational department officials had failed to put a check on the insatiable greed of private school managements for money. Though these schools do not have proper amenities, or at least toilets, they collect fees on a par with corporate schools. The steps being taken by the government to put a leash on greedy school managements in Hyderabad should be implemented in all other districts, he said. The student leader cites GO Ms No.91 to say that any school running without recognition should be served notice and fined and also sealed, but that is not happening. Private school managements form a syndicate and increase the fees every year, of course, in connivance with officials of the education department. “The managements of schools were given several opportunities to complete the formalities for recognition but they are not bothered,” said a senior officer of the education department. “It seems that most of the schools do not have the required infrastructure and staff as per norms. That is the reason for their reluctance to come forward to seek recognition from the department,” he said, adding that political pressure was another reason. Interestingly, some employees working in government schools are running private schools. The Right to Free and Compulsory Education of student Act, 2009 makes it compulsory for every private unaided school to allocate at least 25 per cent seats to students from weaker sections. The Supreme Court upheld the Act and ruled that state governments should implement the rule of reservation in private schools. For this category of students the state government reimburses schools an amount equal to the fees charged by the school managements. But in the district it is not being implemented. District education officer K.Satyanrayan Reddy said they issued notices to schools managements seeking information but have not got the exact figures of how many schools were running without recognition and fire safety measures.