Hyderabad: Forum for Good Governance (FGG), a Hyderabad based non-profit organization, has written to Telangana governor Tamilisai Soundararajan demanding an inquiry by the Director-General of Vigilance and Enforcement into `brazen’ fee hike by private schools in the state.

This comes a day after School Education Department issued show-cause notices to 24 schools for flouting Telangana government’s orders and increasing academic fees during the pandemic.

A government order (GO 46) was issued by the department to all schools in April to reduce the amount charged by the institutions and bring it on par with last year.

In its letter, FGG gave a detailed history of schools violating government orders about a fee reduction. It stated that private school also forces parents to purchase bags, uniforms, shoes, etc from the shops located within the school premises.

FFG also gave a detailed background of how private schools have been taking the government for a ride since 1994.

The letter stated in 1994 the order to regularize fee structures was not followed by private schools. It also mentioned GO no 42 in 2010 that prohibited screening tests and the collection of capitation fee. The order was granted a stay after school administration filed a writ in the court.

The letter also mentioned the committee set up in 2017 to regularize the fee structure in private schools. Led by former Osmania University VC T Tirupati Rao, the report gathers dust in government departments.

The attempt to monopolize the market by creating shops of uniforms, shoes, and books in their own premises, finds mention in the letter, considering that it helps schools extract a lot more finances from parents by forcing them to purchase items from there.

Reflecting on the recent fee hike, the letter brought forth the GO 46 issued in April, directing schools to not hike fee for the academic year 2020-21, and charge only tuition fee monthly. This order has been violated by several schools, which were then issued show cause notices by the SED.

“Many private schools in Telangana are managed by politicians, because of which local officials are unable to implement government orders. There is no transparency in the working of these organisations,” said Mr. Padmanabha Reddy, Secretary, Forum for Good Governance.

He added that in order to balance the education system and “stop the loot by private schools”, confidence in government schools needs to be restored. “The government is spending about 10 thousand crores on the salary of government teachers,” he commented.

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