Published: 19th June 2018
Andhra Pradesh government decides to form panels to regulate fees as schools reopen
The private schools have already started the 2018-19 academic year and there are reports that the managements have collected exorbitant fees from the parents
Waking from its slumber, the school education department had decided to constitute fee regulation committees in every district across Andhra Pradesh. The committee will decide the fee structure in the schools and the school managements have to follow the fee prescribed by the committee.
However, the formation of these committees is still in the process even as the academic year has already started and admissions into schools have also closed.
The committee will be in three levels of each district -- Municipality, Corporation and Rural areas. The district collector would lead the committee and lead it at corporation level, municipality level and for the rural areas.
Speaking over this, Principal Secretary of School Education, Adityanath Das told Express, ''the committees are still under process as we have to consider the opinions of the public, schools etc. Lot of hearing, discussions are going on and we finally gave it a shape and it takes some time to get it done. An action can be taken against the school managements that are collecting a huge amount of fees even with the existing orders but it will be more transparent with the implementation of committees."
The private schools have already started the 2018-19 academic year and there are reports that the managements have collected exorbitant fees from the parents. For instance, for admission into play school, a reputed institution from Vijayawada city collected almost Rs 98,000 per year. The same school charged Rs 1.48 lakh for LKG student. Another school charged Rs one lakh for LKG student admission. In Vijayawada, the annual fee for the LKG students ranged from Rs 30,000 to 1.48 lakh in corporate schools. Where else in Private schools, the fee is about Rs 15,000- 20,000 for LKG.
Earlier this year, HRD minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao instructed all the district officials to take strict action against schools that are charging heavy amounts. But, the instruction didn't go officially to the district officials. On the other hand, the officials were unable to prove whether the fees that the management's is collecting huge with the GO MS 1, which didn't mention about the amount that the schools have to collect exactly.
Speaking over this, K Ravi Kumar, Deputy DEO of Krishna district said, "We know that few schools are collecting huge amounts but we are not in a position to take action. As of now only GO MS 1 is active and every one has to follow it. But as per the GO, it was only listed that of the total amount that is being collected in the schools, part of it has to go for expenses, teachers salary or loans or other works etc. It didn't have any instruction like some particular amount has to be collected or if they collect more than that action must be taken etc. So due to the lack proper mechanism, we are unable take proper action against the schools. Even we didn't receive any orders officially."
In fact, Government of AP in G.O.Rt.No.376, Education dated 18.06.2009 constituted a Committee. Based on the recommendations of the committee, the Government issued G.O.Ms.No.91, education 06-08-2009 regulating the fee structure in private unaided schools and constituting a District Level Fee Regulatory Committee. However, High Court issued a stay order on the GO. Against the orders of the High Court, Government filed SLP in the Supreme Court of India and the same is pending. After enactment of RTE, G.O.42 Edn. Dt:30.07.2010 was issued prescribing the fee to be collected in private schools. High Court stayed the operation of GO and government filed the counter. Yet final orders are pending.
So, the government decided to constitute district committees to regulate the school fees. Each district committee will decide the amount of fee that has to be collected in the schools at Municipality level, corporation level and in rural areas, for each class. This way, the district officials can take action against the schools that are collecting the fees higher than the fixed amount.
Meanwhile, parents are angry with the government for not constituting committees or taking action against the schools that are charging excess fees.
T Lakshmi, parent, says "What is the point of constituting committees after everything was finished? We paid the hefty amounts, the admissions were closed and everything is over. Then why the officials need to wake up now?"