In some reputed international schools in Hyderabad, a parent will have to shell out around Rs 10 lakh for their child’s admission into LKG. This is apart from the regular monthly tuition and other fees that range around Rs 40,000. These startling facts were revealed during a special survey conducted by the school education department (DSE) of the Telangana government recently.
The state government was forced to conduct this survey in March on the directive of the High Court, which is now hearing a petition filed by the Hyderabad School Parents’ Association (HSPA), objecting to the spiralling amount of money collected by private international schools. As the schools are fully unaided, they are not bound by the fee norms of the state government. There are about 55 big international schools associated with global school boards located in the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia and another 170 top private unaided schools which follow ICSE and CBSE syllabus. These schools are not governed by the DSE of the state.
In Hyderabad, there is intense competition among the schools to woo elite parents. As it is difficult to get a seat in established and reputed schools, these new world-class schools are filling the demand. But on Monday a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Dileep B. Bhosale and Justice A.V. Sesha Sai directed the government to come up with plans to regulate fees in these schools as their actions are “against the principle of universal education and implementation of Right to Education Act”.
Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari told The Sunday Guardian that “We are shocked to find that parents are forced to shell out amounts more than what engineering and medicine students pay for their children’s elementary education.” The minister said that a high-level committee would be formed to monitor the admission process and the fee structure in private unaided schools. “We will be writing to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, too, in this regard and take their help to set things right,” he said.
Education principal secretary Ranjeev R. Acharya and director of school education G. Kishan held a meeting to prepare a report that would be presented to the High Court on Sunday, 24 July, when the matter comes up for next hearing. L. Ravichandra, who argued for the private unaided schools’ managements, said that these educational institutions were forced to collect higher fees in view of the stringent norms fixed by the affiliating boards in creating physical and human infrastructure. “Growing land costs on the city outskirts and huge salaries to teachers are the main reason for high fees,” he explained. However, A. Ravi Kumar, HSPA representative and one of the petitioners, told this newspaper that “If the government converts all of its schools into English medium and improves physical infrastructure, the demand for private education will go down.”