NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has approved the first-ever national guidelines on regulating fee in private schools that prescribe penal provision for those institutions that violate the norms.
The guidelines titled Model Fee Regulatory Mechanism are the result of a project supported by the Union HRD ministry. The framework prescribes a two-level process to decide fee in a particular school in any district every three years and it relies on technology.
According to the guidelines, fee in any school will depend on fixed and variable factors such as per capita income of districts, inflation, depreciation, city allowances and facilities offered by a particular school.
“We are asking states to adopt a software factoring in all the inputs-constant and variable components which will then tell them what fee will be appropriate for a particular class in a particular school,” Priyank Kanoongo, NCPCR member (education) who has overseen the drafting of the guidelines, told The New Indian Express.
After the fee is thus decided, the school management will take it up with the Parent Teachers Association, which will have at least 25 per cent representation from parents of students belonging to economically weaker sections.
Other members in the PTA will represent parents of other classes and will be chosen through draws. Once decisions on fee for all classes are made, the proposal will be taken up with the district level regulatory committee, whose decision will be final, but the school management can take it to state appellate authority.
Schools not following guidelines will be docked part of revenue
Once decisions on fees for all classes are taken, the proposal will be taken up with the district-level regulatory committee headed by the district magistrate. It will have the district transport officer, district accounts officer and district teachers training officer as the other members.The state appellate authority, which school managements can approach if they are not happy with the district panel’s decision, will have representation of secretaries of relevant departments.
If the school management wants to revise the fee before three years, it will need the approval of the state-level authority. The guidelines, which will now be required to be adopted by states, also say that schools that don’t follow the norms will be penalised at 1 per cent of the annual revenue generated for the first violation, 2 per cent of revenue in case of a second violation and 3 per cent of the revenue in the event of a third violation.
Schools can be further penalised by being put in the “no admission” list by the district committee. There are currently no such guidelines for regulating school fees in most states, but in Madhya Pradesh the state government has adopted a technology-led process to decide the fees in some technical higher education institutes. Kanoongo said the need for coming up with such guidelines was felt due to thousands of complaints pouring in from aggrieved parents across the country.
Strict penal provisions
Schools not following the norms will be fined @ 1% of annual revenue for first violation, 2% for 2nd time and 3% for the third time.