Published: 27th December 2021
Will Telangana govt cap private school fees this time? This parents' association remains hopeful
The Hyderabad School Parents' Association (HSPA) has filed a PIL in the Telangana High Court and this is what their demands are
Fighting a long-drawn battle of imploring the Government of Telangana to implement a private school fee regulatory mechanism, the PIL filed by the Hyderabad School Parents' Association (HSPA) was heard by Telangana High Court's Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice N Tukaramji on December 22, 2021. When the counsel representing the government asked for six weeks' time to respond to the High Court's question about the absence of the aforementioned mechanism, the petitioners objected stating that they have been delaying it for two and a half years now. Yet, the court listed the next hearing for February 22. "This time the court sounded very serious and we have not lost hope," says Venkat Sainath K, Joint Secretary, HSPA.
What the association is seeking is a rational approach towards deciding fees. "Let all schools show their income and expenditure, there is already a provision for this. Now, let the government enforce it," says the Joint Secretary and adds, "About 10 to 15 years back, a school in Banjara Hills would charge Rs 26,000 as fees. Today, it charges Rs 2.60 lakh. Someone's salary back then might have been Rs 26,000, but today it is Rs 80,000. There needs to be a planned approach, fees can't be decided based on the whims and fancies of the management." He also vehemently shares that not just the state, the whole country should be bothered about the grave issue. He also points towards the dismissal student-teacher ratio and asks if the high fees, in any way, is benefitting the students.
Government school admission figures rose, but that's only attributed to the pandemic, but the Joint Secretary believes that those who opted for public schools will return to private schools. "If the government is unable to provide free education, as per the provisions of our Constitution, at least let it set some limitations on the fees."
The association is in this fight for the long haul and they will keep fighting until a decision is taken, they say. If this time,m the state government refuses to provide a proper mechanism to cap the fees, they intend to file cases on individual officers from the education department.