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Fee Regulation

April 6, 2024

The education sector is once again grappling with a concerning issue: the practice of charging admission fees in schools and hiking fees without approval from the authorities. This unethical practice has drawn widespread criticism and sparked outrage among parents and education regulatory bodies alike. Complaints have been pouring in from all over, with parents alleging that some private schools are charging exorbitant admission fees under different heads, such as development funds or other miscellaneous fees. This practice blatantly violates established rules and regulations governing fee structures in educational institutions. The Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC), tasked with overseeing fee regulations in schools, has taken note of these violations and has issued warnings to several schools found guilty of non-compliance. In response to a video circulating on social media alleging the charging of Rs 85,000 as admission fees by Kashmir Harvard School Naseem Bagh Srinagar, the FFRC had warned of immediate action if the allegations were proven true. Charging admission fees has been explicitly prohibited by statute, and any deviation from FFRC directives is strictly prohibited by law. Furthermore, the FFRC has highlighted the failure of certain schools to submit the necessary documentation and fee regulation files for the academic session 2024-25. Schools are required to submit this documentation to the FFRC by a specified deadline, yet some institutions have failed to comply. This raises serious concerns about regulatory compliance and transparency within the education sector. Schools are not authorized to unilaterally enhance fee structures without prior approval from the FFRC. Any such action is a clear violation of regulatory requirements and undermines the integrity of the education system. The FFRC later made it clear to the school authorities that ‘admission fee collected from all fresh students shall be refunded’. Instances of similar allegations against other schools, such as Doon International School HMT Srinagar and British School Srinagar, have also come to light. The FFRC had taken cognizance of these allegations and summoned the respective school authorities for further investigations. It is important for the government and regulatory bodies to initiate a comprehensive probe into these allegations and take decisive action against the erring schools. The practice of charging unauthorized admission fees must be halted immediately, and strict measures should be implemented to prevent such violations in the future. We cannot expect the private schools to do charity work and charge nominal fees only but at the same time, they should not be allowed to go for arbitrary hikes on their own and fleece parents in the name of so-called ‘quality education’ or shoddy ‘international’ tags and affiliations. If they feel they need to hike tuition, transport or any other fee, the school administrations should do the same through the proper channels. Strict laws should be enacted to hold accountable those responsible for flouting fee regulations, and stringent penalties should be imposed on schools found guilty of misconduct. The Fee Committee also should promote its helpline and contact numbers widely via social media, ensuring that parents are comfortable reporting any school violations.

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