Pay raise prompts ‘steep’ fee hike in schools
Private schools are announcing a higher-than-usual fee hike to raise funds for implementing the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations.
The monthly gross salary of teachers will increase by nearly 25 per cent in the revised pay scales, leading to a 20 per cent jump in the annual expenditure of the institutions.
Private schools said a fee hike steeper than previous years is inevitable because they do not get any aid from the government and depend entirely on the income generated from students’ fees.
“The enhanced pay-scale will have to be implemented by us. We need more funds to pay the increased salaries. Our annual fee hike is usually not more than 10 per cent of the total fees. But this time it will be higher…. Otherwise, we will not be able to pay higher salaries,” the principal of a Christian missionary school said.
A teacher whose existing salary is around Rs 30,000 will be paid approximately Rs 37,500 under the revised scales. Those who are drawing approximately Rs 45,000 a month will be paid around Rs 58,500, the principal said.
The hike will be more for senior teachers who have worked for more than 30 years. A teacher who has worked for 32 years draws around Rs 72,000 a month. Once the pay commission’s recommendations are accepted, it will jump to Rs 1 lakh.
Most schools have decided to charge the enhanced fees from April 1.
Though private schools do not receive any financial assistance from the government, it is binding on them to pay salaries to teachers and other staff members on a par with government-aided schools.
Every private school has to take a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the state government before seeking affiliation to any board.
At the time of seeking the NOC, the schools are required to give an undertaking to the government. One of the conditions is that they will pay their teachers and other staff members following the same scale as the government-aided institutions.
Some private schools where the enhanced fee structure has been announced have been witnessing protests by guardians.
A guardian of a student of a south Calcutta school said the annual fee hike had never been more than 10 per cent. This year the hike is as high as as 23 per cent, he said.
The principal of one of the schools said the fee hike would have to be higher than usual if they were to pay enhanced salaries to the teachers.
“The school does not take any grant from the government. But it has always paid its teachers on a par with the state-aided schools.... Since we have decided to implement the revised pay-scale, a steep fee hike this year is unavoidable,” the principal said.
The principal of another school said they were in a fix. “Guardians are unhappy about the steep hike. Teachers, too, will start agitating if we don’t revise the pay-scale,” the principal said.
The Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), to which most private schools are affiliated, have made it compulsory for every institution to pay salaries on a par with the aided institutions.
A large number of guardians have approached the education department and complained about the steep hike.
Education minister Partha Chatterjee told Metro that his department would soon meet the schools to find out how much the fees need to be increased to implement the recommendations of the pay commission.
“The schools will have to pay the revised salaries. But we want to know whether a fee hike of 20 per cent or more is necessary. We will sit with the schools and try to find a solution,” Chatterjee said.
Copies of the government memorandum about the implementation of the pay panel’s award were recently sent to the private schools. The memorandum states the revised pay-scale will have to be implemented from January 1.
The heads of some of the schools told this newspaper that they could only implement the award from April.