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Govt watchdog to monitor school fees

A regulatory body set up by the government will keep a watch on schools and crack down on those found hiking fees without good cause.

Written by SiddharthKelkar | Pune |
April 11, 2009 12:16:55 am

Huge hikes : After parents complain,state cracks the whip

A regulatory body set up by the government will keep a watch on schools and crack down on those found hiking fees without good cause. The decision follows countless complaints by parents about “unwarranted” hikes in fees,which,in some private schools,have gone up from Rs 2,000 to Rs 8,000 for the next academic year.

“The state government is serious about setting up a fee regulatory body and will most probably pass a legislation in the monsoon session,” Education Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil told The Indian Express on Friday. “The government had decided to form such a body last month but could not move forward due to the model code of conduct.”

Vikhe-Patil said the committee would take into account grievances of parents across the state and also give school administrations the chance to justify their hike.

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The panel will be set up along the lines of fee regulatory committee set up for professional courses in the state as per the Supreme Court ruling. “The idea is to make the process transparent,” said Vikhe-Patil.

At least four private schools in the city have proposed steep hikes. They have cited the need to “raise funds for the upgrade of school facilities” like new buildings,computer rooms,new science labs,auditoriums and salary revision of staff. “In a scenario where there are job and salary cuts,increasing school fees is not acceptable. Schools are social institutions and must have social responsibilities,” said an agitated parent.

Secondary school officer Prakash Parab has announced that if a written complaint by parents on an excessive fee hike comes to his office,the Education Department will take action. “As per the rules,a school cannot increase fees without discussing it with the parents-teachers association. The school also has to produce a balance sheet,” he said.

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