The divisional commissioner of Gurgaon has written to the district education officer asking it to ensure that schools against which parents have complained do not charge ‘advance fees’. Many unaided private schools in the city ask parents to deposit advance fees on a quarterly basis at the beginning of the academic session, but now they have been told not to charge more than a month’s fee in advance.
Divisional commissioner D Suresh, who is also chairman of the Fee and Fund Regulatory Committee (FFRC), through a communication to the office of district education officer on Wednesday, directed certain Gurgaon schools not to demand advance fee and only charge fee as per the heads mentioned in Form 6.
Form 6 is a form to be filed by a school with the education department within a stipulated time, which also contains details of the fee it charges. A majority of the city’s schools mention charging monthly fee in their forms, but actually charge quarterly fee with several additional charges.
Wednesday’s order stated that schools are free to charge fees as reported in Form 6. However, detailed guidelines on school fees are being formulated by the education department that would determine modalities of fee regulation and intervention by FFRC.
In an order to be sent to one of the schools against which parents have complained, D Suresh said, “The schools are advised to share their Form 6 with the parents and to refrain from charging fee contrary to what was declared by them in Form 6. No advance fee would be charged by the school. However, it is learned that the school has raised the demand of fee contrary to what it has been notified in Form 6.”
The divisional commissioner has also advised the schools and parents concerned that by the time guidelines are finalised parents only pay the fees mentioned in Form 6.
However, parents alleged that the formation of guidelines by the education department is taking a long time.
“We will not relent and will take this movement forward. If the state government isn’t going to step in and act on private schools to provide relief to lakhs of parents who continue to be fleeced year on year in Haryana, we will approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek his intervention,” said a parent.
“Our government’s liberal policies and lack of governance and non-implementation of existing acts and rules by the state government authorities, in addition to lack of a mechanism in place to keep a check (on schools), has resulted in all educational institutions turning into lucrative business ventures for major politicians and corporates,” said Atul Gulati, a parent.
“Despite having included rule 158A in the Haryana education rules (amended) 2014, the FFRC has failed to exercise its powers to order audits into schools’ account books and curb the siphoning off of funds collected under fee and several other heads created by the schools. Therefore the FFRC has failed take concrete action against the schools citing the new guidelines awaited from the state department of education,” he added.