BENGALURU: The row over school fees rumbled on, with a parents’ association in Bengaluru demanding that the government form a permanent fee regulation committee just as it has done for engineering courses.
The parents’ association pointed out that several states such as Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have formed such committees headed by retired judges. For example, in Tamil Nadu, every school submits an audit of its expenses to the committee, which comprises schools’ education directors. It is headed by a retired judge. The committee then fixes fees for three years, based on details provided. Parents can also approach the committee to lodge complaints.
In 2016, the Rajasthan government introduced a rule mandating a 10-member committee comprising five parents, three teachers, the principal and a member from the management for every school. The committee decides the fee, depending on expenditure. The government has no role to play.
In Maharashtra, fees are regulated through Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011. Schools can hike fees to a maximum 15% once in two years. At least 25% of parents can appeal against a hike approved by the PTA executive committee before a divisional regulatory committee.
Sources say schools in these states are charging fees under various heads and the systems are not foolproof. However, educationists and parents in Karnataka argue that the progress made by these states is worth emulating.
“The advantage is that there is someone to crosscheck. This has not been happening in Karnataka for years,” said Chidananda PE, member, Voice of Parents. “While other states have taken control of the situation, Karnataka is allowing schools to dictate terms and to loot parents.”
Yogananda, member, Karnataka Private School Parents Association’s Coordination Committee, said: “We urge the government to form such a committee so that clashes do not occur in future. Schools do not disclose the fees. There’s no break-up of tuition fees and other fees. There’s no transparency. We get complaints every day from fellow parents on how their children are not allowed to attend classes because they haven’t paid fees.”
Niranjanaradhya VP, senior fellow, Centre for Child and Law, NLSIU, believes a committee to decide fees is the “only solution available” to break what he called was a deadlock between managements and parents.
“It provides a more transparent and justiciable mechanism to resolve the complex issue. Many states have already done that, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan among others,” he said.