Private schools inventing titles to extract money from parents?
Srinagar, Jan 05: Private schools in Kashmir are charging fees under undefined heads, even as the government allowed them an increment in tuition fee by up to eight per cent.
Besides charging exorbitant admission fees from the students, the government’s Committee for Fixation of Fee Structure of Private Educational Institutions or the Fee Fixation Committee (FFC) has recently said that some schools have “developed a practice of charging huge sum by way of annual charges without any justification”.
“In some areas of the state there is a practice of charging admission fees annually,” reads the FFC order.
The schools charging the “unjustified” fees under the headers, the FFC has said, were “causing a great harassment to the students and their parents/guardians”.
Echoing the FFC, several parents told to The Kashmir Monitor that some private schools demanded as high as Rs 5,000 from each student as part of “annual fees”.
“The school even refused to hand over the mark-sheets of the students. Even after a verbal brawl between the parents and the school authorities, the school still took Rs 4,000 from each parent,” a parent not willing to disclose his name, said.
While the FFC in the order gave an ultimatum of 15 days to the erring private schools to disclose the various heads and their utilisation, in-charge Administrative Officer FFC, Nazir-ul-Hussain Shah, said the schools were still submitting the fee structure.
Going by the fee structure details submitted to the FFC, Shah said, the schools were citing “construction, expansion and other facilities” as “justification” for the annual fees that they are demanding from the students.
“After getting the details (of fee structure), a committee would be constituted to take a call over the matter. The schools will have to justify the fee structure,” Shah said, adding that the erring schools charged annual fees from Rs 1,200 to as high as Rs 3,000.
“We will take a cue from other states over the matter,” Shah said.
Over the matter, President Private Schools Association J&K (PSAJK), G N Var termed the erring institutions as “unfortunate” even calling them “black sheep”.
“The association would not support such schools,” he added.
Var, however, said that the “line of demarcation between aided and unaided schools should be clear”.
“Some aided schools are running from government land, so the government should not apply the same yardstick to both types of schools. That said, it does not mean that the unaided schools indulge in violations.”