Following complaints by parents about an alleged arbitrary hike in school fees, district magistrate NP Singh has constituted a committee to examine the grounds on which the fees have been increased.
The committee, which will start functioning from Monday, comprises the city magistrate, the district inspector of schools and general manager (institutions), Noida authority. It has to submit its report to the DM in a week. He has assured action against schools found to have increased their fees arbitrarily.
Two delegations of parents whose children study in private schools had met the DM last week over the hike in fees by some schools. “Two groups of aggrieved parents met me on April 13 and April 16, complaining about fee hike. To address their grievances, it has been decided to constitute a committee that will look into the manner in which the fee has been hiked,” said Singh.
He added that though these schools are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the state government can step in if they have been revising their fees arbitrarily. “Since the state gives private schools a no objection certificate (NOC) to function, we have the authority to step in if citizens raise voice against any irregularity. We will get the accounts of the private schools in question audited,” said Singh.
He added that CBSE guidelines provide for fee revision in schools once a year. “Fee can be revised if an additional facility is being provided to students. The hike has to be commensurate with the upgradation in facility. The fee to be charged can also be hiked if the teachers/staff are getting an increment by way of pay revision or dearness allowance,” said Singh.
The DM said he will soon be writing to the CBSE about getting parents’ consent in increasing fee as the present provision for consultation is a vague procedure. “The CBSE rules provide for fee revision by schools in consultation with parents. However, I feel consultation is not enough. There must be consent by the parents,” he said.
He added that another important issue is about some schools forcing parents to buy uniforms and books. “The CBSE does not provide for such commercial activities. Action will also be taken against schools found forcing parents to buy uniforms for their children from the school or schools selling books other than those prescribed by CBSE/NCERT,” he added.