Autonomy for private schools

December 31, 2018

Socrates said “The secret of change is to focus all our energy not on fighting the old but building the new.”

The ongoing debate about Government schools and Private enterprise is old and debate about the true role and importance of private schools which are doing a mammoth task of providing quality education, I would like to throw some light on some of the misconceptions that plague common mans’ mind.

Facts about school land at concessional prices 

There is a general perception which of course misconceived and factually wrong that the private schools have been allotted land at concessional prices. Land allotted by the Delhi Development Authority is divided into 3 different categories:

  1. Land at commercial rates
  2. Land at Institutional price
  3. Land at concessional rates or subsidized rates.

As per the DDA letter no. F.30 (Misc) 16/12/1381 dated 1st August 2016 the same has been clarified as under It is true that Private Unaided Recognized Schools run by the registered societies as under societies registration Act 1860 were allotted land at institutional rate and not on concessional rate as approved by the Govt. of India, Ministry of Urban Development from time to time.

Further Ministry of Urban Development has also given the calculations determining the rates of Institutional land. As per the Ministry’s order No. J-22011/1/60DD(DOI) the land allotted for recognized schools run by the local bodies premium per acre is Rs. 6,00000/- lakhs + 2.5% premium per annum payable towards ground rent against this price land allotted for aided schools of Rs. 10,000/- per acre alongwith 5% premium towards ground rent.

On the basis of above government notification it is therefore evident that no concession is given for allotment of land to trust and societies for Private Unaided Recognized Schools. It is pertinent to note that wherever the DDA is allotting land for schools the basic objective is to provide civic amenities to the population in any residential area developed by the Delhi Development Authority or Land and Development Authority.

Further providing land to the schools is a part of social responsibility of the Government. 

 I would thus like to reiterate that private schools  are  allotted land at concessional rate is a myth without any substance. 

Condition of free seats to EWS in the allotment

On the pretext that land allotted to a Society or a Trust for Private Unaided schools is at concessional rates, the government has included a stipulation in the letter allotment –

  1. 25% seats to be reserved for Economically Weaker Section.
  2. The schools cannot hike the fees without prior approval from the government.

Both the conditions laid down are absolutely wrong and contrary to the fact that land allotted at concessional rates.

It is strange that the government has failed to understand problems faced by the schools. As per the Right to Education, it is the responsibility of the State to provide free and compulsory education. Government must feel happy that the Private Schools have agreed to share the responsibility as partner. Instead of appreciation of the wonderful work being done by the Private Schools, the government is putting all kinds of pressure. In fact the government should reimburse the entire fee payable as per the fee structure. This will facilitate the Private Schools to discharge their social responsibilities with greater commitment and further will join the government in fulfilling the target of the government’s policy of eradicating illiteracy, which has remained a black spot on our democracy.  

Price of 25% free seats to children from economically weaker section 

DDA and Land and Development office, Govt. of India are the two agencies having monopoly allotting land for residential, commercial or for the Institutions. This may kindly be noted that the Societies or the Trust which got allotment of land in 70s or earlier, did not have any stipulation in allotment letter or in the lease deed regarding reservation of seats for the Economically Weaker Section. This clause was added much later and this started with 5% reservation which was ultimately raised to 25%. The impact of 25% of the seats for the Economically Weaker Section has created huge financial constraints for the Private Schools. Practically ¼ of children are getting the benefit of free education in Private Schools. To give some rough idea in a school with 4000 roll strength, 1000 children are getting the benefit of free education. In terms of financial loss with average fees of Rs. 4000/- per month, the total financial loss per year comes to 4, 800, 00, 00/-. This is a perennial loss and schools are under obligation to provide free seats to the children till the time schools exists. If we make a calculation the school which has paid Rs 1 Crore as price of land, by providing free education to 25% children in 10 years period the total financial loss would be Rs.48,000,00,00/-.

Let us now highlight the issue of  cost of education 

A huge propaganda  generated against the private schools, alleges that they are profit making and some of the schools are also indulging in unethical practices. For that matter the government has got enough power to regulate such schools and stop any unethical practice but the exceptions cannot be the rule. Cost of education is related directly with the fixation of fee. How should one calculate the cost of education per child in a school? Infact it is easy to determine the main components of expenses such as cost of establishment, maintenance of the property, providing all educational facilities commensuration with the need to match with desired standard. Apart from that, there are some mandatory provisions like gratuity, encashment of leave etc and each school must create reserve fund to make provision for the same. 

Each school must also have 15% of surplus which can be accrued for minimum 10 years to meet any major expenses for school building or construction of new building. As per the government sponsored survey report, the cost of education in government schools in Delhi is Rs. 6000/- per month. This does not include many other expenses which private schools have to meet from their resources like renovation of building, property tax etc. The private schools in Delhi are facing huge financial crisis on account of very unkind and unfriendly policy of the government by not allowing the schools to raise the fee on one pretext or the other

Education is the most powerful instrument for uplifting the society socially, intellectually and economically, intellectually and economically. Substantial reforms in our education system are long due. Our basic agenda before us is:- 

  1. Complete eradication of illiteracy within a stipulated time frame.
  2. To raise the bar of education standard by revamping our entire approach to elementary education
  3. Reorganizing and redesigning education administration model.
  4. Reducing red tapism
  5. Adoption of educational Technology for the improvement of classroom teaching.
  6. Empowerment and Autonomy both to Private and Public Schools.
  7. Allocation of more funds in government budget to narrow the gap in the huge deficit in investment on elementary education. 

It is time to give a clarion call in order to ensure that the private schools are allowed to exist with dignity and participate in the grand task of building the Nation by educating and empowering the young

The above article is authored by  SK Bhattacharya, President, Action Committee, Unaided Recognised Private Schools. 

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