Parents want schools to charge just enough fees to cover their expenses whereas managements of unaided schools say there should be no ceiling set for fees.
This conflict of opinions emerged at a hearing organised by the state government on Monday, where both parties submitted their suggestions on the guidelines for fee hikes issued by the state.
The hearing was held to address a government resolution of May 21 that stated schools should be allowed to make up to six per cent surplus on expenses incurred for running the school, such as staff salaries and purchase of education materials.
The report of the Kumud Bansal committee, submitted to the state last October, had recommended that schools should be allowed to earn between six and 15 per cent surplus.
At a hearing on June 15, the high court had directed the government to consult various parties and then take a decision on the Bansal Committee report within a month.
School managements claimed that since they should have the freedom to charge fees as per their wishes as they are private, unaided institutions. But education activists pointed out that the schools are registered with the Charity Commissioner.
“Schools are registered under the Charitable Trusts Act so they cannot charge such surpluses,” said Anuj Pandey, a representative-member of the Forum for Fairness in Education, an education NGO.
Parent representatives told school education secretary Sanjay Kumar, who presided over the hearing, that is was not right for the government to allow school managements to earn up to six per cent surplus.
The school managements claimed they needed more funds to ensure quality education and improve infrastructure among other things.
“Unaided schools have the full autonomy with regard to teacher recruitment, fees, admissions and disciplinary action as per the constitution and a previous Supreme Court verdict,” said a representative of the Unaided Schools’ Forum, who did not wish to be named.
Parent representatives also argued that the Parent-Teacher Associations of respective schools be consulted before managements decide on fee hike. However, school managements want the full authority to determine their school fees, without PTA consultation.
The government will have to take a decision before July 15.
“We hope there is no further time wasted and the government comes out with a decision as soon as possible,” said Dr Milind Wagh, state secretary of the Forum Against Commercialisation of Education, who also attended the hearing.