School fee hike: Maharashtra education dept to form divisional fee panels this week
After receiving several complaints from parents about fee-related issues in private schools in the state, the education department has decided to constitute the divisional fee regulatory committees this week.
A set of parents from across the state met state education minister Varsha Gaikwad on Monday and the minister assured them the government shall take strict action against schools which are found violating fee related norms. “We will act against schools wherein we have received complaints with respect to violation of rules. Similarly, as mentioned before, a committee is being formed to suggest changes and revisions in the state’s fee regulation act,” said Gaikwad in a statement issued on late Monday evening.
The minister also promised parents that fee regulatory committees will be formed at the district and the state level to address complaints with respect to fees more effectively. The committees have been inactive since 2018 after the previous ones were dissolved.
On February 18, HT had published a detailed analysis underlining the need to strengthen the state’s fee regulation act. Parents said they expected some concrete decisions from the meeting, but were majorly disappointed. “All we got were promises which have been given many times in the past too,” said Anubha Sahai, president of the Indiawide Parents Association.
In 2018, the then BJP-led state government brought about an amendment in the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011. The amendment allowed schools to hike fees by upto 15% once every two years. It also allowed schools to declare fees for the next 5-10 years when a child gets admission in Class 1, thus undermining the role of parents and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in fee related decisions. The act was called out for its pro-privatisation and pro-management stance and its passage was followed by protests from parents across the state. While the resistance slowly faded away as the government turned a blind eye, the concerns raised then are now becoming major hurdles in addressing fee related disputes in schools.