Govt approves 6% annual hike in private school fee, parents aghast

Srinagar, January 29:

The Government Fee Fixation Committee (GFFC) Monday approved the annual fee hike of six percent for private schools.
An order issued by the GFFC said, “The private schools may raise their fee structure annually by not more than 6 percent on the fee structure existing as on August 1, 2018.”
However, parents whose wards study in private schools were aghast over the move saying that the government was appeasing a few private schools at the cost of lakhs of students and parents.
The parents accused the government of taking “kickbacks” worth lakhs of rupees from influential private schools to appease them.
One of the parents whose ward studies in a leading private schools said, “This step of GFFC will be the beginning of dichotomy in the society where poor students will not have access to education in good private schools for quality education.”
“Students from middle class and poor families will be deprived and quality education will be inaccessible,” he said.
The GFFC order said, “The private schools that intend to revise fee structure more than the prescribed ceiling of 6 percent shall apply to the GFFC for approval.”
The committee also clarified that the 6 percent annual fee hike must not apply to the schools charging tuition fee less than Rs 1000 per month and the annual fee of less than Rs 6000 per annum.
“The enhancement in the fee structure should not be exorbitant and abrupt but reasonable and gradual and commensurate with the expenditure and the school should not indulge in profiteering,” the order reads.
Another parent said, “When the GFFC was constituted, we witnessed a check and balance regarding the charges in private schools but this will give a free hand to the schools to hike fee.”
“These private schools should have been given least chance of profiteering but with this approval there will be no mechanism to monitor the profiteering,” he said.
The GFFC order stated that private schools should not charge any fee from the students, parents and guardians, except tuition fee which must be reflective of the recurring expenditure being incurred for running the school, paying electricity and water bills and salary of staff
The order reads that the transport fee must be charged only from the students availing the transport facility of the school.
“Every private school shall get their accounts audited through a qualified charted accountant giving full details of its fee received during the year and forward a copy thereof before a month from the commencement of the new academic session to the concerned Chief Education Officer, Director School Education and Fee Fixation Committee,” the GFFC said.
It also ordered that if any private school which contravenes any provision of this order or any other order of the committee or the government would attract such action by the committee as it deems fit including a recommendation for withdrawal of recognition by the concerned board or the government.

Courtesy: Rising Kashmir

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