Chandigarh schools oppose move to cap fee hike at 8%
The judgment had said there can be no fixing of a rigid fee structure by the government and each institute must have the freedom to fix its own fee structure as required and must generate surplus funds that must be used for the benefit of the students.punjab Updated: Apr 29, 2017 10:26 IST
A day after Chandigarh administration told the Punjab and Haryana high court that it will cap the fee hike by private schools at 8%, the Independent Schools Association (ISA) said it will challenge the decision in the court. Chandigarh’s move had come in light of several petitions filed against UT schools this year by parents, opposing the alleged arbitrary fee hikes. The UT’s decision has to be cleared by the Centre.
Citing a 2013 judgment of then Punjab and Haryana high court AK Sikri, as the ground for opposing Chandigarh’s move, HS Mamik, president, ISA, said, “The decision is whimsical. I fail to understand why the Sikri judgment has been interpreted differently in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, with different consequences.”
The judgment had said there can be no fixing of a rigid fee structure by the government and each institute must have the freedom to fix its own fee structure as required and must generate surplus funds that must be used for the benefit of the students.
Mamik added, “We will challenge this in the court. If parents feel they can’t afford a particular school, they may shift school.”
Kavita Das, principal of St John’s School, Sector 26, said, “There is no rule of thumb regarding the percentage of fee hike. Each school hikes fee as per requirement of development and teachers’ salaries. Schools have to implement the seventh pay commission as well.”
ABS Sidhu, director principal, Saupin’s School, Sector 32, said, “Both Punjab and Chandigarh will commit a mistake by putting a cap of 8% on fee hike. They are playing with the future of the children by doing this. It will lead to a fall in education standards.”
Atul Khanna, director of Strawberry Fields World School, Sector 26, said, “I do not understand the rationale behind proposing the 8% capping. I believe 10% hike is reasonable. The fee structure has to go with the facilities provided to students. Parents must be brought into confidence before raising the fee, but capping has no logic.”
‘Affordability not the question, profiteering is’
President of Chandigarh Parents’ Association, Nitin Goyal, said, “Last year, the schools were charging exorbitantly under different subheads but this year, they clubbed all subheads under tuition fee, hence the massive fee hike.”
He added parents were ready to pay for facilities, but why should they pay for a school’s profit?
‘We follow the rule of the land’
Sanjay Sardana, director, Manav Mangal Smart School, Phase 10, said, “We believe in following the rule of the land. This time, we have increased the fee by 8% only. This will affect staff appraisal.”
Administrative officer of Shastri Model School, Phase 1, Rajneesh Kumar, said, “Schools affiliated to the PSEB are already charging a low fee. These schools are catering to the lower middle class of society and are careful with the imposition of the fee.”