To curb ‘exorbitant’ fees charged by private schools in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) government on Thursday introduced a tough law that slaps imprisonment up to a maximum of seven years for ‘erring’ school managements.
There are over 10,000 private schools in Tamil Nadu.
The legislation, introduced in the state assembly on Thursday by Minister for School Education Thangam Thennarasu, will come down heavily on private schools that allegedly collect huge fees from students “disproportionate to the infrastructure” they provide.
A private school in Chennai affiliated to the CBSE, for instance, charges annual fees of Rs 14,280 for kindergarten classes.
This doesn’t include the price of uniform, books and notebooks. For classes one to five, the fees charged by the school ranges from Rs 15,910 per annum to Rs 16,600 per annum.
Parents are have welcomed the proposal.
“It will be a big relief if the state can curb the huge sums being extorted from us by private schools,” said J Kaushik, 28, a software engineer, whose 10-year-old son attends at a top city school.
The new law proposes the formation of a panel headed by a retired high court judge to determine the fee structure in private schools.
Penalties for management members who violate the law range from imprisonment for three to seven years and a fine of Rs 5000.