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Delhi: Private schools applied for fee hike despite enough funds, shows audit

Delhi Public School, Dwarka, for example, had more than Rs 51.3 crore under several heads, such as general reserve, deprivation fund, development fund etc, the audit showed.

Written by Mallica Joshi | New Delhi |
February 13, 2017 2:54:10 am

PRIVATE SCHOOLS in Delhi sought the Delhi government’s permission to hike their fee — in some cases up to 17 per cent — despite having enough money in their account, an audit ordered into the schools’ accounts has shown. The reports also showed that some schools illegally transferred money to another organisation or formed a parent fund and transferred money to it.

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Delhi Public School, Dwarka, for example, had more than Rs 51.3 crore under several heads, such as general reserve, deprivation fund, development fund etc, the audit showed. DPS, Rohini, had Rs 38.5 crore at the end of the 2015-16 financial year, it said.

According to rules, schools are not meant to be profit-making entities. The Delhi government rules say that private schools built on government land cannot introduce fee hikes without the government’s approval. All other private schools have to ask for permission to hike fee if they do it mid-session.

Last year, the Delhi government had asked all schools that wanted to hike fees to send applications. As many as 172 had applied for a hike. When the government said the accounts of schools will be audited to ascertain if they require a hike, 28 schools withdrew the application.

The Indian Express accessed the audit reports for some of these schools and found that many were refused hikes as records showed they had enough money. Over the past two years, close to 53 schools have been asked to return “excess” fee charged by them after a court-appointed committee ordered them to do so. According to the audit report, DPS, Vasant Vihar, had reserve funds worth Rs 16 crore. Bal Bhawan International School and Vishwa Bharti Public School, Dwarka, each had Rs 2 crore worth of reserve funds. The schools did not respond despite attempts to reach them.

On illegal transfer of funds, an official said, “Any money that the school has should remain in authorised accounts only and cannot be diverted. We have written to the schools.”

It was also found that some schools were charging money for services they were not providing. “Some schools are charging fee for smart classrooms but the audit report found they were not equipped with these tools at all. Another school was charging more bus fee than what they were paying to the DTC, which is against the rules. We have also got complaints from parents saying some schools charge a fee for sports, such as horse riding, even though the activity is never organised,” the official said. Officials said the government has started sending notices to all schools where irregularities were found.

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