Par­ents may have a say in fee struc­ture

Gov­ern­ment ta­bles bill to rein in on ar­bi­trary fees charged by pri­vate schools

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Shub­hangi Khapre

In a bid to stop ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions from charg­ing ex­or­bi­tant fees, the state gov­ern­ment on Fri­day tabled the fee reg­u­la­tion bill in the assem­bly. The Act will come into force af­ter get­ting ap­proval from the state leg­is­la­ture next week. The Act will en­sure greater role of par­ents in de­ter­min­ing the fee struc­ture in pri­vate and un­aided schools.

While op­po­si­tion mem­bers are push­ing for the Act, a sec­tion within the rul­ing Congress and NCP has raised some ap­pre­hen­sions. How­ever, school ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Ra­jen­dra Darda is com­mit­ted to stream­lin­ing prob­lems re­lated to ad hoc fee hikes through the com­pre­hen­sive act.

The bill — Ma­ha­rash­tra Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tu­tions (Reg­u­la­tion of (col­lec­tion of) Fee Act, 2011) — aims to pre­vent com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of ed­u­ca­tion. The bill en­vis­ages that a stu­dent once ad­mit­ted to a school hav­ing the fa­cil­ity to un­der­take ed­u­ca­tion up to Class X, shall not be re­quired to pay ad­mis­sion fee again. The gov­ern­ment will be the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity to de­cide the fees in the gov­ern­ment and aided schools. In case of pri­vate and un­aided schools, the man­age­ment will be bound to sub­mit the pro­posed fees to the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (com­pris­ing mem­bers of the teach­ers and par­ents as­so­ci­a­tions who would be elected) al­most six months ahead of the com­mence­ment of the new aca­demic year. The ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee will have the au­thor­ity to de­cide the amount of fee afresh. If the dif­fer­ence be­tween the fees de­cided by the man­age­ment and fees ap- The Ma­ha­rash­tra Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tu­tions Reg­u­la­tion of Fee Act, 2011, states that a stu­dent once ad­mit­ted to a school shall not be re­quired to pay ad­mis­sion fee again In pri­vate and un­aided schools, the man­age­ment will be bound to sub­mit the pro­posed fees to the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee com­pris­ing teach­ers and par­ents as­so­ci­a­tions al­most six months ahead of the com­mence­ment of the aca­demic year If the dif­fer­ence be­tween the fees de­cided by the man­age­ment and fees ap­proved by the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee is be­yond 15% then the mat­ter can be ap­pealed to the divi­sional fee reg­u­la­tory com­mit­tee within 30 days proved by the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee is not more than 15%, then the fees com­mu­ni­cated will be­come bind­ing on the man­age­ment of schools. If the dif­fer­ence is be­yond 15%, then the mat­ter can be ap­pealed to the divi­sional fee reg­u­la­tory com­mit­tee within 30 days. In cases where it is proved that schools have charged ex­cess fees, this com­mit­tee can ask the man­age­ment to re­fund the amount to in­di­vid­ual stu­dents.

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