Parents in Mumbai unhappy with new panel to regulate fees
On Saturday, the state school education department issued two government resolutions and set up the panels to probe the indiscriminate fee hikes and exemptions that the minority schools enjoy under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.mumbai Updated: May 10, 2017 00:41 IST
Parents in Mumbai are not happy with the expert panels that the state government recently appointed to review the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of School) Fee Act, 2011 and formulate a separate policy for minority schools.
On Saturday, the state school education department issued two government resolutions and set up the panels to probe the indiscriminate fee hikes and exemptions that the minority schools enjoy under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
Although the school fee panel was welcomed by parents, some associations called it a knee-jerk reaction to parents’ agitations, which will fail to solve the problems in the long run.
“The panels appointed by the government lack teeth and real power,” said Ajay Pandita, member of the Parents of Private School of Maharashtra (POPSOM) Trust.
According to parents, instead of amending the act, the government should first focus on implementing its existing provisions. “If the government starts penalising schools for flouting the fee act, it will resolve all the disputes,” said Pandita.
Once that’s done, the department can look at changing the act in the long run. “It can take years for any act to be amended — the changes have to be approved by the assembly, put up for discussion and further recommendations,” said Pandita.
Parents are also frowning over the new 10-member panel formed to create a separate policy for minority institutions. Their major grouse is that the panel doesn’t include parent members, but has four principals from minority schools. “The panel has representation from schools, government officials, but no parent members,” said Anubha Sahai, another parent.
Sahai added that the panel is likely to further the interests of minority institutions. “The committee is studying only those court judgments, which state that the RTE is not applicable to minority schools. This clearly shows a bias,” said Sahai.
The associations are demanding equal parent representation in this panel.