February 17, 2020

Where is much-hyped Fee Fixation Committee, ask parents

‘Delay allows private schools to charge fee arbitrarily’

Srinagar: The inordinate delay by J&K government to make much hyped Fee Fixation Committee (FFC) functional has given a free hand to the private schools to fix their fee structure arbitrarily.

According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the FFC became defunct on July 28 of 2019 after the two year term of the Chairman of the committee completed.

“Since then the government has not taken any decision about making the committee functional again,” an official said.

Some years ago, the committee was constituted on the directions of Supreme Court in wake of the complaints against the private schools fleecing parents.

The committee was given a mandate to regular the fee structure in private schools. The committee was headed by a justice (Rtd) and was given other staff members by the school education department.

“After the two year term of Chairman ended, the government should have appointed new Chairman on war footing basis or extended the term of the same Chairman to keep the committee functional. But no such step was taken due to which the committee is defunct from past over six months,” the official said.

As per KNO, amid the delay in making the committee functional, the fee structure in most of the schools has been hiked arbitrarily, with no check from the education department.

The parents complain of being fleeced by schools who are overcharging monthly tuition fee besides other fees charged by school management under various heads.

The parents said the schools have enhanced the monthly fee by Rs 600 to Rs 700 in each class in violation of government norms.

“Even some schools force parents to pay in advance the fee till March of this month,” a group of parents said.

An official at FFC said they also received complaints from parents against arbitrary hike in fee by private schools in various districts but they are not in position to initiate any action.

Commissioner Secretary School Education Department, Hirdesh Kumar was not available for his comments.

However, a top official in civil secretariat, wishing not to be named, said the education department has submitted the file to law department to seek their legal opinion in appointment of new Chairman of the committee. “There has been no response from law department till date,” he said. (KNO)

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