Fee hike complaints rise against educational institutes

Most school and junior colleges have not implemented the Maharashtra Educational Institutions Act, 2011 for fees regulation

Most private unaided schools and junior colleges are yet to form executive committees to regulate the fee hike at the institution level. The deputy director of education office is flooded with complaints regarding fees hikes regardless of the implementation of the mandatory ‘Maharashtra Educational Institutions Act, 2011’. Irked parents visit the education director’s office to file complaints about the fee hikes. The registrations of educational institutes not following the act can be cancelled, said officials.

State education minister Vinod Tawde had publically announced last year about the strict implementation of the fee regulation act to restrict the commercialisation of education, from the academic year 2015–2016 itself. But the act is still not followed by educational institutes.

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As per the Maharashtra Educational Institutions Act, 2011, educational institutes across Maharashtra, regardless of being government or private, aided or unaided, have to follow the norms. The government and aided educational institutions have to fix the fee while an executive committee regulates fees in private educational institutions. The executive committee should comprise of the principal and members of the Parents Teachers Association. “Private school management has to submit a detailed proposal of fee hike for approval by the committee, eight months before the commencement of the academic year. If the difference in the fee decided by the panel and the management is less than 15 per cent, then the amount agreed by the former will be applicable,” the act states.

The act allows schools to hike fees by a maximum of 15 per cent over the fees of the previous academic year unless approved by the executive committee of the school or the divisional fee regulatory committee. The act further clarifies the fee to be charged has to be based on the location of the school, infrastructure available, qualification status, qualified teachers and non-teaching staff, expense on maintenance and administration and the yearly amount of salary increment. Features like tuition fee, library fee and deposit, term fee, laboratory fee, caution money, gymkhana fee, hostel fee and mess charges, examination fee and admission fee, have to be also considered by the committee.

In Pune city alone, the education department for the current academic year 2016–2017, has received as many as 125 complaints from parents unwilling to pay wrongly hiked fees, against 32 educational institutes. Most of the complaints are against Shri Shri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, Bhugaon, Potdar International School, Ambegaon, The Lexicon International School, Wagholi, Hutchings High School, Camp, Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), Euro Kids, Wakad, Vibgyor High School, Kondhwa & Hadapsar, Indian Education Society, Wadgaon Sheri, and D Y Patil International School, Pimpri.

The anxious father of a girl studying standard IX in Indian Education Society, Wadgaon Sheri said, “There is no executive committee at the school to monitor the fee hike so I had to complain at the Deputy Directors office. The school from the last three years is siphoning money in the name of activation fees, computer fees etc. There is not a single computer provided to the students for learning, even after this. There are no facilities like parking, sports ground and water, still they charge a heavy amount every year and keep on hiking it. If parents complain about the immoral fee hike, the management starts harassing the pupil for it, due to which most of the parents hesitate to raise their voice against it.”

The exhausted mother of a standard III student of Vibgyor High School, Kondhwa, said, “Vibgyor School is following its own set of rules for fee hike and there is no one to curb it. Hundreds of parents face the brunt of fee hike every year. The educational department is a toothless body which has no control over the private schools. Even the fee regulation act is not helpful for us. Lack of guidelines and proper execution of Maharashtra Educational Institutions Act, 2011 from the state education department has forced the parents to pay arbitrary fees. Even after paying so much for the education of our child, the quality of the school and its education is falling.”

Deputy Director of Education Dinkar Temkar said, “There is no official record of the institutes which have formed executive committees which will regulate the fees in the private educational institutions with us. Every educational institute in the state has to compulsorily follow the act from this academic year 2016–2016, as it was delayed last year. Soon a workshop will be organised and a meeting will be called to take the accountability of the institutes about implementation of act as we have started getting complains against fee hike. Registrations of these educational institutions can be cancelled if they don’t follow the fee regulation act and are found guilty.”

vicky.pathare@goldensparrow.com

Originally published on The Golden Sparrow

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