An analysis of Delhi budget 2018-19 numbers by Praja Foundation shows that the average annual per student spending at Delhi government schools was Rs 75,056.
The Delhi government has threatened Apeejay, a private school, with takeover or a cancellation of its recognition over the school’s decision to hike fees. This, despite the matter of capping of fee hikes by private schools still being heard by the Delhi High Court. While it is true that school fees have skyrocketed, increasing the cost of education for households, the fact is that teachers’ salaries, infrastructure requirements, etc, have also risen.
The Delhi government will do well to look at its own record before it threatens private schools with takeover. An analysis of Delhi budget 2018-19 numbers by Praja Foundation shows that the average annual per student spending at Delhi government schools was Rs 75,056. With many vacancies remaining unfilled, this cost would have actually increased in this year’s budget. The 2018-19 figure is a 44% jump over the figure for the year before, which was a 31% increase over the 2016-17 figure. While a school like Apeejay charges roughly Rs 1.25 lakh per annum, private schools are allowed to increase fees by just 5-10% per annum. Praja analysis also shows that the government has precious little to show for it—of the 2,59,705 students enrolled in Class 9, 56% did not reach Class 12; the figure was 19% for Central schools, and 26% for private schools. Pass percentage in Class 10 declined from 99.09% in 2011-12 to 68.9% in 2017-18 while in private schools, it declined from 97.9% to 89.5%. It is true the Delhi government granted land to 325 schools, but the purpose of land grants was to increase schools, not dictate fee hikes.