A panel constituted by the Andhra Pradesh government has recommended that private schools in urban areas should not charge more than Rs 24,000 per annum as tuition fee up to Class 5 and Rs 30,000 up to Class 10.
The six-member panel was constituted last month following public complaints that several schools effected a steep hike in tuition fees from the academic year 2009-10.
The five-member expert panel headed by commissioner of intermediate education Luv Agarwal has asked the managements of all such schools to roll back the fee hike. The new fee structure recommended by the panel will come into effect from the next academic year.
The tuition fee for private schools in rural areas has been fixed at Rs 15,000 per annum up to Class 10. The fee excludes transport, food, books, uniform and hostel charges.
The panel fixed a maximum registration fee of Rs 100 for all schools. It also prescribed that schools should not collect more than Rs 5,000 as caution deposit and it should be refundable.
The panel, which submitted its 14-page report to the government Friday, clarified that the upper fee limit does not mean that all schools can collect it. The fee would be decided after taking into account the expenditure incurred by the school. It also laid down that the fee structure should be revised only once in three years.
All private schools in the state will also have to take permission from the district-level fee regulatory committee for increasing the fee. The committee will be headed by the district collector.
The panel recommended that all schools set up a governing council by including representatives of the management, teachers and parents. It also asked schools to set up a parent teacher association, which should be consulted by the management on the fee hike.
It also suggested that buying books, stationery and uniform from the school should be optional and that transport charges be collected on the basis of distance.
The committee also directed schools to do away with tags like international, talent, techno, model and e-school. "The schools should be named as primary, upper primary and high schools," it said. This direction is significant as schools with tags like international and techno were found collecting huge fees.
The panel also clarified that the tuition fee includes charges for all extracurricular activity and the schools can't collect the fee under different heads. It also made clear that schools should not collect development fee or recover advertising expenditure from students.
The panel's recommendations have come as a major relief for parents, who had taken to the streets last month to protest the steep hike in fees by several schools. Some schools were collecting anywhere between Rs 30,000 to Rs 100,000 as tuition fees.