AAP leader Manish Sisodia on Saturday challenged the BJP and Congress to show even one state where they can show that excess fee charged by private schools was refunded or they were prevented from increasing fee. He said that in Delhi, the AAP Govt has managed to do this and this provided relief to lakhs of parents of children whose children are studying in private schools. He also said that the AAP has maintained their promise and prevented the schools from becoming profit making machines. Sisodia said that both Congress and BJP have failed to regularise fee hikes of private schools in other states.
“I have come before you again to present some aspects on education from AAP’s report card. Broadly, there are two issues associated with education, whether in Delhi or elsewhere – one, government schools are either deteriorating or closing down and governments neither have an understanding nor the intention to work to improve government schools and second, parents are frustrated because of rising fee of private schools. As compared to government schools, private schools managed to maintain quality education, but the biggest complaint has been that private schools keep increasing fee arbitrarily,” said Sisodia.
He said that people’s salaries and income don’t increase to the extent the school fee have been increasing. It has been seen that government schools were deliberately shut down so that private schools could prosper. This was also seen that where government schools continued to deteriorate, people whose responsibility it was to ensure that govt schools function properly – politicians, leaders, officers etc. – they or their family members themselves opened private schools. Private schools were left unregulated.
“When I participated in meetings of education ministers, I would ask why government schools are being shut and I would be told that its because there are no students, parents are no longer sending their children to government schools. I would then ask them to undertake a study to find out, in those areas where government schools are being shut, how many private schools have opened and how many of those schools belong to politicians,” said Sisodia.
He added that when AAP came to power in Delhi 5 years ago, we had promised to the people of Delhi that we will improve the government schools and the quality of education being imparted there, will bring these government schools equivalent to private schools and will regulate fee of private schools. Regarding government schools, I have already informed about how much work we have done there. “I can confidently say today that in the last 5 years, we haven’t let private schools become profit-making machines. There are many private schools in Delhi and many of them are really good to work and I acknowledge and salute them for filling the gap because for many years in between, government schools had been completely ignored. But some schools were nothing more than profit-making machines,” he said.
Sisodia said: “APJ School in Sheikh Sarai had increased their fee even when they had Rs. 31 crore of unspent balance; we got the excess fee refunded or adjusted. Maxfort School in Pitampura had increased their fee by 15-25%, we got their financial records checked and got the excess fee refunded. Another private school had asked parents of children in the EWS category to pay for books and uniforms, we got that money refunded. Parents of children studying in Queen Mary School in Model Town sent me an interesting mail, after their complaint of the excess fee had been resolved, and I will read it for you, “We are very happy with the development. This has further cemented our trust in your government. I wish they keep working the way are for the betterment of education.”