INDORE: Parents' woes concerning arbitrary hike in school fee may soon see a respite.
Taking cue from states including Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh government is working on enacting an Act that would regulate fees in private schools in the state. The school education department is working on it and is in consultation with all concerned departments and people so as to give a final shape to it and later passing the bill in the state assembly. If the act comes into action it would restrict private schools from increasing fees every academic year in an uneven manner.
Speaking to ToI, principal secretary, school education department, Sanjay Kumar Singh said, "Indeed we are working on introducing a fee regulation act to restrict arbitrary fee hike in all private schools. We are in consultation with those concerned to come to a consensus." When asked about the possible dates of introducing the bill in state assembly, he said, "Legislative process takes its time. However, we are working to introduce it as soon as possible."
Recently, Rajasthan state assembly has given approval to Rajasthan schools' regulation of collection of fee bill, which lays out punishment of three years imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine for not following the rules and hiking fees in arbitrary manner. Tamil Nadu too has constituted a committee which will decide particular amount of fees to be charged by any private school.
Meanwhile, parents have welcomed the government's proposal to check fee hike. "If the government is planning to come out with new regulations before the commencement of the next academic year, many parents will be relieved," said Nilesh Churchill, a parent. According to parents, several city schools have already hiked their fee structure by 10 per cent to 50 per cent in the academic year. "If a new legislation is put in place, there will be some amount of fear among private schools and unjustified fee-hike might stop," said Churchill.
Meanwhile, private school managements said that implementing fee regulation is a difficult task. "We have been called for a meeting related to the act but there are several points in the documents that will make it difficult to implement the Act in all schools. If government comes with concrete parameters only then can it come into effect. Moreover, the union ministry has proposed to bring schools under 15% income tax slab. Once, schools come under the slab, then it will be recognized as a company and regulating fees cannot be forced," said a school principal wishing anonymity.