The government has finally cleared the decks for a bill, which will give parents a say in determining school fee structures across the state, irrespective of the board the child belongs to.
The regulation, which got a nod from the Legislative Assembly on August 3 after being approved by the 27-member joint-legislative committee, finally got a go-ahead from the Legislative Council on Monday.
“We brought this bill after getting complaints about the profiteering attitude and malpractices in private education institutes.
The law will make sure that management does not arbitrarily hike fees without giving a notice and getting a nod from the parents,” said minister of state for education Fauziya Khan in the Council.
The new legislation will be referred to as the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Bill.
The highlight of the bill is that the fee to be charged by the school will be put forth by the management to an executive committee of the Parent-Teachers Association, which will be headed by the school principal.
The management will have to make sure that the difference between the fees recommended by them and approved by the committee is less than 15%. Otherwise the committee will be considered a final authority.
In case there is a difference of opinion on the fee structure, the management can appeal to a divisional fee regulatory authority headed by a retired district court judge. The next appeal can be made to a state-level review committee headed by a former high court judge. The decision of this committee will be binding.
“We needed to consult stakeholders and take all the legislators to support the bill which will change the way schools function,” said education minister Rajendra Darda.
The period for fee revision has been fixed for two years. Charging excess fees, originally termed a non-bailable offence, is now bailable. Also the managements violating the rules will attract a penalty of anything between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for the first time. It will attract imprisonment only for a second offence.