Unaided educational institutions, in the line of fire for unprecedented fee hike amid protests by agitated parents, will now be face the heat as the fee regulatory committee decided that their fee accounts will undergo an audit. In a meeting chaired by Patiala divisional commissioner, it was also decided that any fee hike before the beginning of a session will be sent to the district education office for uploading on the website a month in advance.
Parents along with MLA Rakesh Pandey had met deputy commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal on Monday but the meeting ended in a stalemate after the DC claimed that he had “no power” over the matter. He had suggested they take their demands to the fee committee.
On Tuesday, the committee mandated that all the unaided educational institutions in the district should maintain a proper account of the fee charges and get it audited. It was also decided that this might be devised by the member secretary with the assistance of deputy controllers (finance and accounts) and was to be circulated to all such educational institutions to submit their reports.
The decisions were made in reference to relevant sections of the Punjab Regulation of Fee of Unaided Educational Institutions Act, 2016.
Other decisions included that unaided educational institutions should constitute a fund where fee and other charges shall be credited and directions should be issued to all schools to create such a fund and deposit all the fee, and other charges in the fund as prescribed under the act. The bank account details should be shared between the school and member secretary.
All the district education officers (DEOs) falling within the jurisdiction of regulatory body should hold a meeting with unaided educational institutions explaining the schools the content of the act.
Schools to charge reasonable fee
It was also decided in the meeting that fee, development charges, building fund, readmission fee, annual function charges, cultural fund, sports fund, computer fee should be reasonable and all the schools should regularly hold meetings with the parent associations to discuss such fee structure to avoid litigation.
Parents to submit complaints for interim relief
Parents who were agitated about the fee hike were asked to submit complaints in the office of the member secretary for interim relief.
Fee structure, book list to be sent to DEO month before
In order to bring in transparency, the institutions should prescribe the structure of fee and other charges a month before the beginning of the academic session and send the same to the DEO who will send it to the concerned department for uploading on portal.
Similarly in case of textbooks, the schools should prepare a list according to class a month before the start of the session and the same will be uploaded on the education department portal as well as on their own website.
Parents to submit individual affidavit
Earlier, parents from 19 different schools of the city submitted their complaints regarding readmission fee and other charges to the fee regulatory committee under the Patiala divisional commissioner Arvinder Singh Bains on Tuesday.
Parents have been demanding stay orders on readmission fee and other irrelevant charges by schools, but in vain. However, they were asked to submit an individual affidavit instead of a collective one. A parent, Swaroop Singh, said, “We visited the additional commissioner office with a lot of expectations that the stay order will be issued on readmission fee and other charges which the schools are forcing the parents to submit. But now, they have asked the parents to submit an individual affidavit. As guided by the deputy commissioner, all the parents visited the Patiala divisional commissioner requesting them to give stay orders but no respite was given to any parent.”
WHAT THE GUIDELINES SAY
Unaided educational institutions to maintain proper account of fee and other charges and get it audited
Member secretary with assistance of deputy controllers (finance and accounts) to direct educational institutions to submit reports
Constitute fund and directions to be issued to all schools to deposit fee and other charges in said fund as prescribed under the act. Bank account details to be shared between school and member secretary
All DEOs falling within jurisdiction of regulatory body should hold meetings with unaided educational institutions explaining contents of the act