The claims of the Delhi Government's Directorate of Education notwithstanding, public schools in the Capital have violated the norms pertaining to sale of forms at a prescribed rate of Rs.25 with impunity. And, as the parents allege, the Directorate looked the other way while the schools fleeced the hapless citizens over the past fortnight.

“I applied for the admission of my son in nearly 16 schools. Ideally, the overall application charges should have been around Rs.400 at the government prescribed rate, but I ended up spending over Rs.4,000 as many of the schools are charging up to Rs.500 for the prospectus, whose purchase they had made mandatory for procuring a form,” said a parent, who did not wish to be identified for fear of his child being discriminated against in the admission process.

Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely had recently clarified that the schools are not allowed to charge more than Rs.25 for the sale of forms and complaints in this regard could be made with the respective District Admission Monitoring Committee that would be chaired by the Deputy Director Education concerned.

A closer look at the admission scenario has revealed that these Committees have failed to ensure that the parents were not fleeced by the schools in the name of admissions. “The schools were charging such exorbitant rates for the forms without any impunity. Many of them even accepted drafts for the extra amounts and issued receipts. The Delhi Government did not conduct any raids and did not deal with the schools in a stern manner,” said a parent.

Another grouse of the parents is that the Minister, who claimed that over 50 per cent of the complaints pertaining to admissions had been addressed, had not devised any mechanism to refund the extra amounts charged from the parents. “By allowing the schools to retain the money, the Delhi Government has shown that it is hand in glove with the administration of these schools.”

A resident of Rohini, who applied for his son in several schools, said it was wrong to brand all the schools as bad. “Many schools like DPS Rohini, NK Bagrodia Schools in Sector 13, Rohini; Ryan International in Sector 25, Rohini; Montfort School in Ashok Vihar and Goodley School in Shalimar Bagh charged Rs 25 for the form.”

But such schools were few. A majority used the opportunity to mint money. “VSPK School in Sector 13, Rohini, and Lancer's Convent in Sector 14, Rohini, made us buy a Rs. 500-prospectus each and VSPK also gave a receipt for it; Gita Ratan Jindal School in Sector 7, Rohini, sold a prospectus for Rs.300; Vikas Bharati in Sector 24, Rohini, charged Rs.250 for the prospectus while Agarsain Public School in Pitampura also charged Rs.100 for the mandatory prospectus.”

The complaints do not end with the sale of prospectus. In many cases, the schools also charged varying amounts along with deposit of print-outs of the online registration forms.