PUDUCHERRY: Following a furore in the last budget session of the Assembly over exorbitant fee collected by several private schools,the government has initiated steps to constitute a committee for fixing the fee structure for schools in the Union Territory. The panel has been empowered to recommend penal action for violation of the fee structure.
The School Education Department has sent a proposal to the Law Department for getting a panel of retired High Court judges, for the appointment of chairperson of the panel, Director of School Education E Vallavan told Express.
The government stepping into this domain is in tune with the March 3, 2014 notification of the Lieutenant Governor, introducing an amendment to regulate fees in private schools. As per the Puducherry School Education (Amendment) Rules, 2014, the fee committee should be headed by a chairperson who has to be a retired High Court Judge or a retired IAS officer. The government has preferred to appoint a retired High court judge as the chairperson, said Vallavan.
The other eight members of the nine member committee are director of school education, who is the member secretary, ex-officio members (chief engineer, buildings, PWD; deputy secretary, education; joint director of school education; deputy director of elementary education; senior accounts officer; directorate of school education) and members (chartered accountant nominated by government and three representatives of private school managements).
The committee would study the existing fee structure in private aided and unaided schools and recommend appropriate fee and other charges to be collected by each school. The panel would not only fix the fee but hear complaints with regard to excess fee collection. If collection of excess fee was found, it recommend to the appropriate authority for withdrawal or cancellation of the recognition or approval granted. It could also recommend disaffiliation of the private school from the school education board to which it is affiliated.There are about 730 private schools in the Union Territory.