In a major development in the school fee hike row, Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate NP Singh issued a directive to all private schools in the district on Sunday evening to form a team comprising representatives of school management, parents and district administration.
The teams will comprise five persons including two chartered accountants nominated by parents and school management, two representatives nominated by parents and school and one representative appointed by district magistrate or district inspector of schools.
Once the team is constituted, all schools which are facing allegations of hiking the fees, have to conduct a meeting of the team wherein the school management’s representative and C.A will present in detail the reasons behind hike in fees and whether all parameters laid down by state government have been followed. The team will then probe the reasons presented by the school management and come to a decision on the fee hike.
“Until then, schools cannot force parents to pay hiked fees or act against students for non-payment of fees,” said Singh.
Singh further said that in case the school management intends to add any extra charge apart from school fees, they are bound to inform the parents at least one year in advance.
The notice comes after a month-long protest by various parents’ groups in the district and across Delhi-NCR against the hike in fees by private schools. The parents alleged that the schools hiked fees without informing the parents.
“We have noticed that there is anger among parents when it comes to hiked fees of private schools and they have been holding protests over the issue for the last one month. The situation is volatile and the protests could turn violent any time. Therefore, we decided to form a team in each school, so that none of the school managements can increase fees in an unjustified manner,” said Singh.
The school team will also present its probe report to the district magistrate and in case any irregularities are found in the functioning of a school, the magistrate will be send a request to the state government and seek cancellation of the no objection certificate to the school.
“If the team finds that the school has increased the fees in a way which is not in accordance with state or CBSE guidelines then I will be forced to send a letter to the state government asking for the school’s NOC to be cancelled,” Singh said.
Parents’ groups have welcomed Singh’s directive saying it had given them fresh hope in their continuing battle against the school fee hike.
“This is a welcome step, as now, the parents will also have a say in the functioning of the school management. There is also a provision for cancellation of the NOC if a school is found flouting norms. This is also a good move,” Niti Srivastava, a parent, said.