Parents of students from around 20 schools across Maharashtra protested against the fee hike planned for the next academic year at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan on Thursday.
Their demand: Maharashtra government should put a cap on the hike, much like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat – where schools have to limit annual fees for primary section to Rs15,000 and Rs25,000 for secondary schools.
HT tells you all you need to know about fee regulation in schools:
1. Hike without intimation
What the law states: The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Collection of Fee) Act, 2011, makes it mandatory for school management to submit the proposed fee structure to the executive panel of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) for approval at least six months before the start of the new academic year.
What schools do: Most schools hiked fees in March without prior notice. The PTA was not given a chance to approve the hike.
2. Fees hiked twice in two years
What the law states: The Act states schools can hike fees only once in two years
What schools do: They hike fees every year
3 .Government body set up only this year
What the law states: If there is more than 15% difference in the fees proposed by the management and approved by the PTA, the schools can approach divisional fee regulatory committees set up by the Maharashtra government.
Status: Although the Act was enforced in 2015, the committees were set up this year. Consequently, the committee has a lot of pending cases.
4. Delay in setting up Maha fee revision panel
What the law states: Parents or schools can file an appeal with a state-level revision panel, if they are unhappy with the decision taken by the divisional committees
Status: It became active only last month.
5. No clarity on rules
What the law states: If there is less than 15% difference between the fees suggested by the management and the amount PTA agrees to, the management can go ahead with the hike.
Status: Parents are oblivious to the rule. This explains why nothing much comes out of the protests by parents.