Delhi Teachers Pay hike – Schools Federation objects

A group of schools in East Delhi are opposing the fee hike proposed for private, unaided schools across the Capital if the sixth pay commission recommendations are adopted as such by the state. They fear a large number of students will drop out if the fees are raised.

The Trans-Yamuna Public Schools’ Federation, comprising 150 institutions from East Delhi, has petitioned the Directorate of Education (DoE) to reconsider the pay hike.

The Federation says small public schools in the area cater to lower income group families, and parents would not be able to afford private schooling if the Pay Commission recommendations were implemented as they are. The private schools are pushing for a fee hike apparently to pay teachers as per recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

But S P Jalan, secretary of the Trans-Yamuna Public Schools’ Federation, said, “If we have to pay teachers as per the Pay Commission’s recommendations, then fees would have to be increased to more than Rs 3,000 per month.

Parents who opt for these schools (in East Delhi) cannot afford to spend that much per child.”

Jalan is also chairman of Mayo International School in IP Extension. He said fees in Trans-Yamuna public schools are in the region of Rs 700 per month.

Though the area has several government schools, people here, too, prefer the small private schools. “I am not educated but I want my son to study in an English-medium school,” Kalyanpuri resident Poonam Devi said. “My husband owns a shop but expenses are already to steep. I don’t know what we will do if schools raise fees.”

Jalan said “lack of trust” in government schools has led to the explosion of small private schools in the area.

While people in pockets of East Delhi — such as IP Extension, Nirman Vihar, Surajmal Vihar among others — can afford to spend more on education and send their children to bigger schools such as DPS Noida, Amity, Lovely Public School etc, the commoners would be hit hard by the proposed fee hike, Jalan said. Many residents of East Delhi are second- or third-level government employees, own small businesses or work in the unorganised private sector. And these are the people who zero in on small private schools for what they feel is a better education for their children.

“Prices are hitting the sky and though both I and my wife work, it would be difficult to afford the fee hike. We have two school-going children and our savings will take a massive hit,” Ajay Jain, who owns a small business in East Delhi, said.

O P Rai, general secretary of the schools’ association, said if they increase fees schools would also have to pay more taxes to the municipality. “House tax (property tax) is calculated according to the fee. So if we are forced to raise fees, taxes will also rise,” Rai said. “Almost 70 per cent schools in Trans-Yamuna areas may have to shut down in such a scenario.”

The larger schools, however, insist the fee hike is necessary. R K Sharma, principal of Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar, said the Pay Commission recommendations were on the expected lines and schools will have to increase fees in order to be in business.

R P Malik of Lovely Public School said parents are prepared for the hike. “Those who can’t afford private schooling will have to shift their children to a government school,” Malik said. “You can’t expect a school to operate on low fees and yet pay (increase) teachers’ salaries.”

Delhi’s Director of Education Chandra Bhushan Kumar, meanwhile, said concerns of all schools will be taken into account before rules are formulated. “We have constituted a committee under retired IAS officer S L Bansal to work out modalities of the fee hike,” he said. “The committee will study financial data submitted by each school and work out a scheme that will suit everyone concerned.”

The committee has been given a month to submit its report.

Source : The India Express (29-10-08)