That parents have to keep up with the extortion-like donation demands of private schools is not a startling revelation. What is surprising is that it has not been very easy to nail the errant schools. Almost none of the aggrieved parents want to openly protest against the schools' unjust demands.
The degree of fear can be gauged by the fact that some parents are apprehensive that their children may be dismissed, failed or, in some cases, even kidnapped by politicians or local dons who run school managements, if they dare speak out against them. A pointer to this is that the 'anomalies committee' set up by the Delhi government last year to look into the parents' complaints against school managements, drew almost a blank.
In terms of financial mismanagement, it is very difficult to establish the admission swindle as most of the schools do not even keep straight financial records and do not even follow a uniform code of accounts. The lending and borrowing goes on between the same sister institutions or those started under different trust names but owned by the same individual or family.
Thus, from a higher revenue-generating school the money is diverted to new schools under construction. The parents are told that the school's budget has a deficit and all should contribute to make up for the losses, informs Supreme Court lawyer Ashok Agarwal.
Interestingly, in many public schools, the parents-teachers' associations have members planted by the managements. Thus, the associations, which should ideally voice parents' concerns over the running of schools, are dropped in favour of discussions of annual day celebrations and methods to improve facilities in schools through sponsorships and donations.