When there comes a relation between money and academics, it becomes hard to get a perfect balance between for middle-class people. This imbalance has been seen in major cities of India where parents are protesting against irregulated fees hikes by private schools. Clearly, this is not a good gesture by private schools in a country like India where the majority of the population are middle class.
People have started protesting in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kerala, and Hyderabad. Parents are showing maximum efforts, even they are moving to courts. To make protest effective, Hyderabad School Parents association (HSPA) launched a ‘missed call campaign’ last month. This campaign gained positive response across India and received a huge number of calls. Similar associations are getting effective in Bengaluru where they moved to court for the deregulation of recently hiked fees.
It has been reportedly said that the hike in private school fees is 100 % compared to fees that were five years ago. Certainly, this increased rate doesn’t match the growth rate of people’s income. Many attempts were made to the regulate the fees but they faced objections.
In the rescue of protests, the school authorities explained that besides maintenance costs and teachers’ salaries, there also occurred establishment cost which needed to be compensated. Further clarification came out that most schools are built on leased property so the installment cost is higher. Dr. Shashi Kumar, general secretary of the Karnataka State Private School Management’s association blamed the Bengaluru Development Authority that lands are reserved for educational institutions but very less of it is sanctioned to schools.
In some places, private schools are violating the regulation policy. In 2010, the Andhra Pradesh high court made an order to limit the school fees to Rs 5000 per year. But it has been found that schools are collecting fees ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2,50,000.
Similarly, in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Educational Institutions act was made to hike fees up to 15% once in two years but they are allegedly hiking fees every year.
The Delhi government has acted tough over Private schools and even set up complaint centre to address complaints from parents and students against private schools.
Authorities explained this problem is due to the degree of transparency. Schools should make their expenditure public and proper auditing team should maintain the work. According to authorities, the school should be given liberty to fix their fee otherwise it will be difficult to make experiments with the school management.