Steep cut in school fee in the offing

By: Admin 01 March, 2017

Gujarat government's proposed bill to regulate fee in private schools promises to herald 'Ache Din' for parents ahead of 2017 polls. Private schools affiliated with state board, CBSE, ICSE among others may be directed to cut fees by almost 50%."A fee regulatory authority will be formed once the bill is passed in the state assembly's budget session beginning February 20. Parents whose wards are charged exorbitant fees by schools can expect a relief of 50%," said a top education department official.

Currently, private schools charge anything between Rs 30,000 and Rs 2.70 lakh per annum. Sources say the move will benefit parents of nearly 15 lakh students in Gujarat -- higher the fees, greater the relief. The state government's intervention follows complaints of rampant and arbitrary fee hikes by private schools.

The official said that once the bill is passed, the process of standardizing a fee structure will be put into motion. Preliminary calculations by education department have revealed that the state government spends Rs 13,500 per student in primary schools while expenditure per child is Rs 27,000 in grant-in-aid secondary and higher secondary schools.

This expenditure of Rs 13,500 and Rs 27,000 for primary and higher secondary students, respectively, will be made the base to decide the new fee structure. Schools wanting to charge higher fees will have to take prior permission from the fee regulatory committee and submit income and expense audits to justify higher fee structure,“ said a top source in education de partment. A retired judge of Gujarat high court will head the fee regulatory committee comprising an IAS officer, a chartered accountant, a school trustee and a member of the District Primary Education Programme and state board.

The proposed Bill has sent school trustees into panic mode with many of them making representations in the state capital. “We have submitted our objections and recommendations to the state government over the Bill. All schools should not be judged by the same measure-quality of infrastructure, teachers and other parameters should be duly accounted before arriving at fee structure“, Manan Choksi, trustee of Udgam School said. Education minister Bhupendra Chudasama said, “We are coming up with the Bill for which objections and suggestions from all quarters will be considered to finalize the fee slabs. It is currently premature to comment on exact benefit to parents in terms of fee reduction.


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