31 crore found surplus in school records, Government ordered to return excess fees

New Delhi: Delhi government has taken against one of the prominent private schools in South Delhi for charging extra fees despite having a surplus of Rs 31 crore.

The government has sent a notice to Apeejay School, Sheikh Sarai asking it to refund the excess amount to parents while rejecting the proposal of a fee increase for 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Directorate of Education (DoE) had earlier inspected the school’s financial records for the financial years 2012-13 to 2018-19. According to the government, the school was given an opportunity to present its stand on April 26 and 30 this year.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Saturday that the school had been indulging in various financial irregularities.

Listing some of them, the education minister said, “Based on the discrepancy between the estimated cost and the cost reported in the audited income and expenditure account for financial year 2017-18, it appears that the school has reported inflated expenditure in its audited financial statements, on account of which 50% of the total expenditure reported by the school is questionable and has been disallowed.”

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Sisodia also pointed out that the school had spent Rs 62 lakh on publicity alone and had been running an international wing without seeking DoE’s approval. During the inspection, DoE had found that the school campus was being used by an agency for private coaching classes.
Principal Ritu Mehta did not respond to calls and messages.

The school had increased the fees in 2018-19 by 10-25%. However, Sisodia said, “There was no need for the school to increase the fees, hence the school is directed to refund/adjust the increased fees of Rs 2 crore collected from students and submit evidence of the same.”

Sisodia also highlighted that the school was charging fees for activities such as swimming and table tennis. “It was a compulsory charge taken from each student even if s/he did not take part in it.” Emphasising that these are the ways of private schools exploiting parents, he urged “every parent to bring to our notice if the schools are illegally charging fees”.

The school management has been told “to communicate to the parents about the fee rejection proposal and pay the staff of the school as per the seventh pay commission”.

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