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Hiking school fees in Maharashtra set to be easier for managements?

Parents say proposed changes to the fee act favour schools; government says draft not final

mumbai Updated: Aug 17, 2018 00:29 IST
Ankita Bhatkhande
Ankita Bhatkhande
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Mumbai,School fee hike
According to the document, parents will also have to pay ‘late fees with interest’, if they fail to adhere to the deadline given by schools to pay fees.(REPRESENTATIONAL PICTURE)

Hiking school fees may become easier and representation of parents in the executive committee of the parents-teachers association (PTA) may reduce if the government passes the amendments proposed to the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011.

Parents claim many of the amendments in the 11-page proposal, a copy of which is with HT, favour school managements. One such point is the right given to private school managements to hike fees, either through the approval of a PTA executive committee or by a simple majority of 76% of parents of school students, not necessarily from the committee, under “unforeseen” circumstances. Currently, the sanction of the executive committee is mandatory to impose a hike.

The document also suggests an amendment to the structure of the PTA’s executive committee by reducing the number of joint secretaries from two to one, reducing the number of parents in it.

While the document is not out in the public domain, a member of the committee that drafted it confirmed the proposed changes. A government official, who is in the know of the issue, said deliberations over the proposed amendments were on and it has not been finalised.

Among the other amendments is the nod to allow schools to ask parents to pay fees on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis. According to the document, parents will also have to pay ‘late fees with interest’, if they fail to adhere to the deadline given by schools to pay fees.

Read more: Support of 25% parents enough to oppose school fee hike in Maharashtra, says minister

Parents are unhappy with the changes. “The government is just trying to shield the interests of private managements by bringing in such amendments. If passed, all parents will oppose it,” said Anubha Sahai, president of the Indiawide Parents’ Association.

In December 2017, an 11-member committee headed by retired HC judge VD Palshikar recommended that parents and PTAs should have more rights to handle fee-related disputes. Taking it into account, state education minister Vinod Tawde had said the government would work towards amending the Act in the following few months. The committee’s recommendations did not include some of the contentious amendments present in this document. Despite repeated attempts, Tawde did not respond to the messages. Officials from the education department, too, refused to comment on the issue.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 00:27 IST