Despite a Fee Determination Committee by the government restricting private schools from collecting excess fees in addition to the amount stipulated, rampant violation of the norm by private schools is prevalent across the State.
According to Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009, no fee should be collected from the students in addition to the prescribed fees. Private schools distribute textbooks in addition to the Samacheer Kalvi books against the Supreme Court’s order, for which an additional fee of `3000-4000 is collected from the parents. Special classes, extra-curricular training classes and so on are also introduced for students every weekend or after regular classes and extra charges are being collected for this. Parents are instructed to buy uniform materials and get them stitched in outlets suggested by the schools and there have been reported instances where the schools even recommend what kind of notebooks the students should use for their rough work and where to buy them. Funds were also collected for special costumes and accessories used by students in cultural festivals.
Fearing action against their children, parents hesitate to lodge a complaint and those who approached the committee alleged that there was no proper response and all action was delayed.
President, Private Matriculation Schools Association
Why do schools collect fee in addition to what is stipulated by the government?
There was no harm in spending a nominal amount in excess to get quality education. I’m very sure no school is going to force parents if they are not going to pay this small amount. Schools have to go the extra mile to improve the standards rather than just conducting classes and exams.
What would be your reaction to the increase in number of protests against private schools collecting ‘excess’ fee?
These so-called educational forums wanted to make an issue of every attempt to provide some quality education and never understood the point, even the schools had practical problems and never came forward to take up the issues.
Ways to avoid these problems?
If there was a problem the education forums instead of protesting and attempting to interfere in the administration could come forward to sort it out and find a solution.
Prince Gajendra Babu
General Secretary, State Platform for Common School System
‘Excess fee’ continues to remain a grey area for parents including educated ones. What are schools allowed to collect?
According to Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009 no fee should be collected in addition to the fee structure prescribed by the government. The schools can’t collect fees for additional textbooks and notebooks, special classes, co-curricular activities, donations and so on.
Why does the issue remain unresolved?
No school has faced action so far, as the responsibility of the committee was restricted only to frame the fee structures, point out schools which violated this and recommend returning excess fee collected through the Directorate of Matriculation Schools.
What went wrong with this attempt of setting up District monitoring committees? This committee headed by the Chief Educational Officers met rarely and without parent representatives, student body representatives and academicians.
IT Professional, Sholinganallur
Does the school which your daughter goes to demand fees during the course of the academic year?
Yes, she is getting trained in badminton now. I pay `2,000 every month towards this. She enjoys her game and is soon going to represent her school in the zonal level sports meet.
Are you aware that schools can’t collect fees for special training classes ?
Yes, I know that the government has fixed tuition fees for students. But if my daughter is interested in developing these skills, I don’t mind paying for those classes as I would anyway have to put her in a private training institute.
By diluting the norms, do you think you are denying the opportunity of another child whose parent can’t afford it?
If a parent can afford to pay the tuition fees, I’m sure they can pay this meagre additional amount. But if the school is discriminating against students because their parents haven’t paid the excess fee, it can’t be accepted.