The Maharashtra government is planning to introduce a law to make Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools adhere to its rules.
There have been complaints from legislators and parents that ICSE and CBSE schools were charging high fees and did not allow education officers to inspect their premises.
“I assure the House that in the next session the state will bring a Bill that will give us more authority over these schools,” Minister of State for School Education Fauzia Khan said.
The state government has been talking about drafting this law for the past three years at least.
Although the state government has recently issued fee hike regulations for all schools, the state has limited control over these schools.
They only approach the state once in three years to get No Objection Certificates.
Schools feel they should be able to run their institutions independently.
“Academic autonomy is an essential requirement for an institution,” said Dr K.B. Kushal, head of DAV School, a CBSE school.
“As far as regulatory norms are concerned, they are already in place. Criteria to fix fees are the same for state board, ICSE and CBSE schools,” he added.
Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Council Ramnath Mote brought up the issue in the Legislative Council through a private Bill on Friday.
Mote retracted the Bill after the minister’s assurance.
“Some of these schools behave as if they are above the law. They don’t sing the national anthem or give holidays during important national and religious occasions,” Mote said.
“The state government needs to do something to assert its control over them.”
Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council Vasant Davkhare also directed the state government to bring in law to regulate these schools.
“In Thane, the J K Singhania School is charging Rs 2 lakh as donation for getting a child admitted to junior KG,” Davkhare said.
“The government needs to do something to teach such schools a lesson.”
Schools, however, say all of them do not misuse the autonomy they have.
“Certainly some schools are misusing their freedom but because of them the rest of us are being scrutinised,” Kashmira Jamali, principal, Beacon High School, an ICSE school, said.