The Telegraph | 20 April 2017
Schools threaten to sue CBSE
New Delhi, April 20: An initiative of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to keep an eye on private schools has drawn the ire of an umbrella body of private schools, which today threatened to move court.
The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) released a statement accusing the CBSE of "harassing schools" by asking them to furnish details of the facilities provided and the fees charged. A CBSE circular issued in November last year had asked all its 18,000-odd affiliated schools to provide information on the fee structure, teachers' salaries, facilities, mode of payment of salaries and contributions to employee provident funds.
Nearly 16,000 of the schools have complied with the directive. The board has given the rest till April 30 to do so, failing which they may have to pay a penalty of Rs 50,000 each.
The NISA has demanded the withdrawal of the circular and warned it would move court otherwise. "The basic purpose of setting up the CBSE was to conduct exams, provide certification and maintain standards of education in affiliated schools. However, the board is continually deviating from its purpose and intervening in the operations of the schools," NISA president Kulbhushan Sharma said in the statement.
Sharma accused the board of trying to get into micro-management of schools and imposing penalties went completely against the idea of autonomy.
A CBSE official claimed affiliation rules required schools to charge fees "commensurate with facilities". "The CBSE's affiliation bylaws say schools should charge fees commensurate with the facilities they provide. No part of their income shall be diverted to any individual. The CBSE has every right to monitor whether the affiliation norms are being followed," the official said.
A father whose son studies in a private school in Delhi said the fee he paid for his child's admission was more than what his parents spent on his graduation studies at Assam University in Silchar.
In Delhi, nursery admissions are made through a lottery system. The number of applicants is between 1,000 and 10,000 for schools more than 10 years old, with each of these offering 100 to 200 seats. The fee varies from Rs 1,000 to Rs 20,000 per month.
"The parents are helpless because they have no choice. Wherever they get an opportunity, they block the seat and get trapped," another parent said, suggesting there was little one could do but pay the high fees because of the acute shortage of seats.
The Gujarat government recently passed a law to regulate fees through a committee. No school can charge beyond a threshold unless allowed by the panel.
Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had on Monday expressed concern about the high fees in private schools, though the central government has no direct control on them.
This news was published by The Telegraph