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Bengal private schools not sure of efficacy of the regulatory body set up by Mamata Banerjee

The regulatory body will include the education secretary, representatives of the DGP and Kolkata Police commissioner apart from members of a few elite schools of the city and one from Darjeeling.

kolkata Updated: Jun 01, 2017 12:12 IST
Mamata Banerjee,Private Schools,Regulatory Body
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee targeted the private school after she addressed the authorities of the private sector healthcare units in February this year.(HT Pchoto)

Just a day after West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee set up a self-regulatory body to check fat donations to and arbitrary fee hikes by private schools in the state, the authorities of different city-based educational institutions welcomed the move but was not sure of its efficacy.

While representatives of some schools welcomed the move as it paved the way for self regulation instead of a direct interference by the government, some felt that the measure can become successful if it is really able to rein in the arbitrary fixation of fee-structure by the authorities of different schools.

Read: Bengali will be compulsory in all West Bengal schools: CM Mamata Banerjee

The regulatory body was the highlight of an hour-long meeting of the chief minister with the authorities of the prominent private schools of the state. Mamata Banerjee hauled up the representatives of a few schools and asked them why they were taking fat amounts to admit students and were raising the various fees arbitrarily.

Krishna Damani, a member of the trustee board of South Point High School which is one of the largest in the world with about 13,500 students, told HT on Thursday that the element of self-regulation is a better proposal than a government-appointed regulatory body. This school will have representative on the body.

Read: Mamata pulls up Kolkata school for playing Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ to students

“The proposed body will have representatives both from the educational institutions and the state government. The joint representation will be able to bring about the desired balancing act of ensuring the fund flow and avoid arbitrary hikes in different charges and fees. Had it been just a government-appointed body with only state representatives, the purpose would not have been served since the educational institutions have the practical experience,” said Damani.

However, the founder of Young Horizon school, Sourav Mukherjee, who is also a member of the proposed body was not willing to whole-heartedly welcome the decision until the effectiveness of the body is proved on the ground.

Read: After Kejriwal, Mamata slams private schools, sets up regulatory body to check donations

“It is Catch-22 situation. It cannot be denied that some schools are charging exorbitant fees and accepting big amounts as donations. There should be a balance. Let us see how far the proposed body achieves its desired objective. The proper evaluation of the step can be done only after some time by watching the results,” said Mukherjee.

The principal of Heritage School, Seema Sapru, who will also be a member on the committee, echoed Damani. “This is a practical step. Through this body the interest of all stake holders, including the school authorities, students and parents will be served. I wholeheartedly welcome the decision,” she told HT.

Read: Mamata Banerjee pulls up private hospitals, to set up a health regulatory commission

Incidentally, Ananya Maity of Heritage School topped the ISC results with a total score of 99.50%. She was from the humanities stream.

“The regulatory body is a welcome move. It should be able to rein in excessive fee hikes and donations,” Ranjan Mitra, the principal of Future Foundation School remarked on Wednesday itself.

Wednesday’s meeting with the school authorities was seen as a measure by the chief minister to rein in the institutions that have regularly been accused of taking fat donations from guardians to admit students and fleece guardians through steep hikes of fees.

Guardians can approach the committee with their grievances against school authorities.

“I shall meet after a year to review the work of the body,” Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday.

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 12:12 IST