Schools have turned education into a business
Private Schools are hiking their fees every year! From 15% to 25% and sometimes as high as 200%. No reasons given ,no consent taken. So where is all the money going?
Clearly not where it matters the most as has been exposed by increasing incidents like the latest Ryan school tragedy.
This Profiteering and commercialisation of education must stop.
As a mother I have been struggled with the fee hikes myself. As a lawyer I have been fighting court cases on behalf of these aggrieved parents.
The Supreme Court in 2004 had directed all state governments to enact a fee regulation act and constitute a fee regulation committee. Despite several such SC judgements only some states like Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Gujarat Haryana and Rajasthan have enacted the act so far.
However every state has a different fee regulation act. They have shortcomings which have come in the way of their proper implementation.
Education is the responsibility of both the Centre and the States. The Central government must act now because states have failed in trying to curb this growing racket. That’s why I started this petition asking the Education Minister, Prakash Javadekar, to introduce a law to regulate fee hikes across all private schools in India.
The MHRD can intervene in two ways:
1. Make an amendment in RTE act and include provision for regulation of Fees. Appoint a committee at the central level (central free regulatory committee)and state level (State fee regulatory committee). The committee at the central level should be an appellate body.
2. Make a separate legislation with stringent provisions for fee regulation. Under this there can be a fee regulatory bodies both at the central, state and the district level.
a. The state and district committees should be empowered to look into the accounts of the schools and trusts to check for any profiteering and commercial activities.
b. The committee should be able to penalise any school found to be charging excess fees. The excess amount should be refunded to parents.
c. For fee revision it must be mandatory for schools to submit their proposal and justify the hike.
d. Schools should not be allowed to collect fees till their accounts have been verified by these committees. The verification should be displayed on the school notice board
e. Parents should be able to approach these committees in case of fee disputes or complaints
Government intervention is the need of the hour to ensure that education does not become a tool to siphon off money.
School should be free to set their fee structure provided it is reasonable and not amounting to profiteering.
I therefore request the HRD minister to step in and bring about the much needed reform and consider this proposal for enacting a central legislation or to amend RTE act.