The parents of children studying in various branches of Delhi Public School (DPS) are irked by the school's demand to pay operational and maintenance charges, along with the increased tuition fees in contradiction to Delhi government orders.
The Delhi government's order on April 18 said "not to increase any fee in the academic session 2020-21 till further directions irrespective of the fact whether or not the school is running on private land or the land allotted by DDA/Other Govt. Land Owning Agencies."
"No fee, except tuition fee, shall be charged from the parents, till further orders," the order further read.
On August 28, another order was passed by the Delhi government that directed schools to "refund or adjust the amounts other than the tuition fees charged by them."
Besides, on September 1, a notice threatening to take punitive action for charging annual and operational charges along with tuition fees from August was also passed. But parents allege that the school has "violated" these orders, and went ahead with the hike in annual and tuition fees.
The parents of over 150 students studying in various branches of Delhi Public School (DPS) had approached the Delhi High Court against the hike in annual and tuition fees last year in October.
The application has been moved by the parents seeking to intervene in a plea filed by DPS Society challenging the Delhi government's orders of April 18, August 28 and September 1.
The institution, in its petition, has contended that it complied with the April 18 order till July, but thereafter, it was compelled to charge operational and annual charges from August. A huge gap had arisen between the amount collected from students as tuition fees and the establishment expenses incurred by the school on account of salary, provident fund of the staff, internet charges, report by Outlook.
The parents even wrote to Delhi Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia, alleging that the school has hiked the school fees without prior notice to parents.
They said there has been a 47 per cent jump in fees from August 2020, that is, from ₹9100 to ₹13,414 per month (present), in the letter. In this, 80 per cent of the hike is on account of other expenses like housekeeping, operational charges and maintenance.
From April to June 2020, the parents said that the school was completely shut down because of the Pandemic. And from July 2020, online classes were started for just 2 hours per day for approximately 20 working days in a month.
"For this also they have increased the tuition fee from ₹9600 to ₹10,500 per month in DPS Mathura Road and increased the tuition fee in other DPS Branches also," said one of the parents whose children are studying in Mathura road school to The Logical Indian.
She said, "Until August 2020, we were only paying tuition fees which surprisingly is different for various branches of DPS. From September, they started asking us the maintenance and operational fees including arrears of the previous months. This was done without communicating with us prior."
Another parent said, "In some branches of DPS - kids are not being allowed to attend the online classes because the parents are not paying the arrears due to the ongoing court case. This is a total lack of empathy from a reputed brand like DPS during the pandemic for arbitrarily increasing the fees disobeying the government directives."
The parents also asked why does the school ask for maintenance charges and operational charges when it was shut since March 2020?
The pandemic has caused a huge disruption in the life of every household, wherein parents are having to balance work, home and children's education amid the enormous stress of financial insecurity. In this context, the sudden and unexplained hike of the school fees has hit us hard, they said.
The parents also alleged that the school is not paying its teachers properly, and hence, questioned why does it ask for extra fees?
When The Logical Indian spoke to DPS Principal, Mathura road, she said that she was not ready to comment on the matter as it is still in the court. "Let the court decide," she said.
The court hearing will be held sometime next week, said advocate Raj K Singh who is looking into this case. He also said, "Delhi government time to time came out with the three circulars during the pandemic. It has given specific guidelines to all the private schools in Delhi. The schools are bound to follow the circulars by the government. But DPS has not followed the guidelines," he said.