Syed Rizwan Geelani
Srinagar, Oct 14: The Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC) for the private schools has warned private schools of action for charging excess fees from the parents at the time of admission of their kids.
The move comes at a time when private schools are in the middle of the process of kindergarten admissions and, in violation of government orders, are demanding a huge amount of donation (capitation fee) from the parents.
The FFRC Chairman Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar (former judge) in a fresh order has stated that the managements of private schools were taking undue advantage of their higher bargaining position by allegedly asking students for payment of huge amounts in the name of the security deposit, refundable fund, and in some cases as admission fee.
“Most of the parents who constitute a voice-less class in the hope of securing admission in few big schools cave in to illegal, unethical, and immoral demands of these few school managements,” the FFRC order reads. “Adopting this unfair practice has the potential of causing immense damage to the social fabric.”
The Chairman FFRC said that the government has legislated laws to ensure no commercialisation of education and “this noble cause is safeguarded from all kinds of negative onslaughts”.
Referring to Section–20 E (1) of the J&K School Education Act, the FFRC said that private schools were barred to charge any fee including admission fees other than tuition fees, annual fees, transport fees, and voluntary special purpose fees like picnics, tours, and excursions
“Complaints have been pouring in about charging huge amounts by some big private schools in the name of security deposits and refundable fees,” the order reads.
The FFRC has learned that some other top-notch private schools were allegedly charging and collecting huge amounts in cash from the parents at the time of admission of their wards in their schools.
“Given the legal position, the schools, more particularly those few top-notch schools that are demanding money from the parents beyond the fee as is delineated by Section 20 E (1) of the J&K School Education Act 2002 (amended) are prohibited from charging and collecting fee beyond the fee prescribed by Section 20 E (1),” the order reads. “The schools are more particularly restrained and prohibited from collecting money from the parents or students in the name of security deposits, refundable fee, or money by whatever name called.”
The FFRC has ordered the private schools that have charged money beyond the prescribed fees to forthwith return such money to the parents or students.
“The parents who in the circumstances were compelled to pay the money beyond the prescribed fee are at liberty to inform FFRC by giving details about the payments made so that punishment is given to erring school managements following the law,” the order reads.
The FFRC chairman said that it should be ensured that money collected by schools is returned to parents.