In a bid to tighten the noose on schools charging ‘unreasonable’ fees and levying ‘hidden’ charges, the CBSE has sought data from private schools about their fee structure and increase in fee in recent years.
The move comes weeks after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had warned private schools against turning into ‘shops’ by selling uniforms and books in their premises. Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told PTI:
We have told schools that they should not charge unreasonable fee. The charges should be reasonable and there should be no hidden costs as that is the more irritating part for parents.
“Many schools have sent the data and it is being analysed. Schools which haven't sent it have been sent reminders and penalised,” he added.
The minister, however, did not clarify about the penalty measures for schools found guilty of overcharging and those with hidden costs in their fee structure.
Overcharging by schools and increase in fee every year has been a subject of concern often raised by parents.
As many as 15 percent of parents surveyed said their child’s school has increased the fee by over 20 percent, a survey by social media platform LocalCircles asserted. Gujarat had last month introduced the Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fee) Bill, 2017, to regulate the exorbitant fees charged by schools.
The bill empowers the Gujarat government to constitute four ‘fee regulatory committees’, one each for the state’s four zones, to determine “fee for admission to any standard or course of study in self-financed schools.”
Fee structure proposed in the bill for primary, secondary, and higher secondary schools is Rs 15,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 27,000 per year, respectively.
Schools that wish to charge more will have to approach the regulatory committee, which will have jurisdiction over all private schools, whether affiliated to the Gujarat board, the CBSE, or international boards.
The bill had caught the interest of several states and also the Centre with education ministers from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and the Union Minister, asking for copies of the bill from Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.
There are private schools which are charging Rs 250, Rs 2,500, Rs 25,000 and Rs 2.5 lakh also that is a choice which has to be made by parents. We value private investment as it contributes to the GDP but schools should not be overcharging,Prakash Javadekar, Union HRD Minister
CBSE has mandated disclosure of the fee by schools to the board, and on schools’ websites. However, as per the last notification from CBSE, only 14,000 out of the total 18,000 schools had complied with the order, LocalCircles said.
(With inputs from PTI)