Schools can’t extort money from parents: Sisodia

New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia here on Thursday said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was not against private schools or the 7th Pay Commission for their teachers, but against extortion of money from parents in the name of fees.

Sisodia’s reaction came after the Delhi High Court stayed till April 8, a single-judge Bench order that allowed private unaided schools, built on government land, to hike fees.

Speaking to the media, Sisodia said the Delhi government recognised the importance of private schools. “But the unjustified fee hike by some of them has nothing to do with the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission for teachers.”

A “false impression” had been created by vested interests that the Delhi government was against the 7th Pay Commission implementation, he said.

Many private schools attempted to arbitrarily revise the fee structure, citing the implementation of recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission, Sisodia, also the Education Minister, said.

“The Delhi government, through a circular on April 13, 2018 restrained private unaided schools built on government land from hiking tuition fees without the Directorate of Education’s approval,” he said.

The circular directed private schools to meet the additional resources required to implement the 7th Pay Commission from their surplus without hiking the fees, he added.

Remarking that the reason behind this restriction were two-fold, he said first, these schools were built on lands allotted by the DDA and therefore had certain obligations, and second the government was against exploitation of parents.

Pointing out that the law did not allow converting educational institutions into profitable entities, he said there were 325 private schools built on land allotted by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

“Of these, 260 schools had applied for fee hike, but 32 schools later withdrew their applications. The audit of accounts of the remaining 228 schools showed that 150 had surplus funds to implement the Pay Commission recommendations. Thus, they were denied the permission to hike fees,” the Minister said.

The rest of applications were being processed and their details would be submitted to the court, he added.