Forum for Fairness in Education is a voluntary Non Government Organization which fights against commercialization of and corruption in Education. It takes up cases against schools, colleges, trusts etc which compel parents to pay "Donation / Security Deposits / Refundable Deposits / Caution Money / Building Fund / Development Charges etc. " as a pre-condition for admission, indulge in profiteering or collect illegal and unapproved fees from students.
The greatest hurdle to availability of education for masses is 'Capitation Fees'.
1.'Capitation fees' includes all amounts of money / goods which are demanded by an educational institute / trust as a pre-condition for admission and which are not approved by the government. They may be called by various names viz. donation / security deposit / refundable deposit / building fund / maintenance etc. Demanding or collecting capitation money popularly disguised as 'Donation' at the time of admission or as a pre- condition to admission is an offence under. The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Prevention of Capitation Fees Act 1987). This offence is punishable with imprisonment for 3 years and penalty. It is a Non-bailable and Cognizable Offence. Any complaint relating to collection / demand of capitation fees should be lodged with Local Police Station within 30 days from payment of such amount.
2.Any fee which is not approved or prescribed by the Government is Capitation Fee; such as Building Maintenance, Examination Fee, Activity Fee, Incidental Charges, Counseling, Gymkhana Fee, Library Fee, Bulletin Charges, Karate Fee, Computer Fee (up to Std. IV), Advertisement Charges, Cyclostyling Charges, Calendar Fee, Educational material, Learning and Technical material, Printed Books, Photographs, School Badge Charges, Computer Manual Charges, Work Sheets Fee, Hobby Classes Fee, Development Fee, Entertainment Fee, Sports Fee, Health Care Fee, Audio Visual Fee, Premises Maintenance Fee, Repair & Maintenance Charges, Annual Day Charges, Scouts & Guide Fee, Field Trips Fee etc. Collection of any of the above Fees and or any other Fee/s without prior approval by the government / education department is an offence. Private schools have to get fees approved from Education Department & cannot charge over and above the approved fees. Capitation Fees also includes fees and any other amount of money which is not approved by the education department.
3.Due to deterioration of quality of education in public educational institutions, private educational institutes viz schools, colleges etc have mushroomed everywhere. In fact it has now become a 'business' to run a school. Private schools / colleges etc both established and managed by minority groups and non-minority groups, get lots of concession from government in form of free / concessional land, electricity, water.
4.Supply and other facilities and are not completely 'private' bodies. They cannot charge fees as per their own whims. The fees to be charged by private schools has to be approved by the Parents Teachers Associations of the school and also by the education department. Parents should write to education department under R.T.I to ascertain the amount of fees / charges approved by them.
5.Computer and Karate education are not included in the Primary (Std. 1 to IV) curriculum by S.C.E.R.T and therefore, the school should not conduct such classes during course of regular school hours. Hence no fee should be charged for Computer and Karate. The school management can provide these facilities after the school hours but it should not be made compulsory to all the students. The Computer Fee from Std. V to X should be charged as per the Government Resolution. The computer should be at least PIII with multimedia, CD Rom and Internet etc. one computer has to be provided per student.
6.It is not mandatory to buy Uniform, Exercise Books, Note Books, Stationary items, School Bag, Text Books etc. from the school / its agent or agent or from a particular shop. Bombay High Court has ruled in a Petition filed by Forum for Fairness in Education that schools cannot compel students to buy school uniform / material from them / their agent. Schools / Colleges cannot compel parents to buy school uniforms, exercise books, note books, stationery items, school bag, text books, shoes or any accessories etc from the school or its agent or from any particular shop.
7.The School can collect approved Tuition fees (for12 months) and Term fees ( for 2 months only). Term fees should be collected twice in a year and one term fee should be not be more than one month's tuition fee. Collection of Capitation fees under different pretexts / names / heads is also an offence, which is cognizable and non- bailable & punishable with 3 years imprisonment.
8.It is mandatory for all schools to form Parents Teachers Association body every year. PTA elections should be held democratically and only one parent per division should be elected. Similarly only one teacher from each division is allowed. The elected members are not eligible to contest elections for next 5 years. The School should not charge more than Rs. 5/- per year in urban areas and Re. 1/- in rural areas as PTA fee.
9.Picnics / Tours / Field Trips are not compulsory. School / College cannot compel or force any student to join picnic or tour.
10.There are 21 different items covered under Term fees, therefore the schools can not charge separate fees for all those items covered under the term fees.
11.Do not forget to take valid Receipt from the school towards payments of fees or other charges. Receipt has to be on the name of School only and NOT in the name of trust.
12.The school cannot charge late fee of more than Rs.1/- per day.
13.The school cannot collect yearly, half yearly or quarterly fees in advance. You can pay monthly fees.
14.The school / colleges cannot victimize or harass students or parents / guardians. Any matter pertaining or victimization or harassment should be informed to Education Department or to the Police. You can get in touch with Forum for assistance.
Forum has filed more than 60 cases in the High Court and Supreme Court against Mal-practices, Commercialization of Education and Corruption in Education. Forum provides guidance to parents in legal issues pertaining to education.
15.Forum has dedicated core teams to look into various spheres of education viz Pre-primary education, Primary education, Secondary education, Colleges, Private Educational establishment, Minority education, Professional courses viz Medical, Engineering, Law etc.
Dear parents / guardians, if you have any complaint or grievance against any of the school/s please report the same to the concerned Education Department or Forum for Fairness in Education. All complaints related to Education (including Colleges, University, Medical, Management Colleges and Engineering etc.) can be lodged with Forum for Fairness in Education.
Remember, by keeping quiet you are encouraging corruption in education and commercialization of education.