The State government may fix a ceiling on the fees collected by private schools and it is up to those aggrieved to take it up with the respective authority, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal said on Sunday.

Responding to a question at the first Kuruvila Jacob memorial oration on the Tamil Nadu government's decision to regulate private school fees, Mr. Sibal said every State had different policies on school education and the Union government did not interfere in these aspects.

He cited the example of the Delhi government order which stated that private school teachers be paid government salaries. “If you have issues with these orders, you can fight them out in the courts,” he said.

The Union government was keen only on prescribing minimum standards for school education, Mr. Sibal said. The concept of a core curriculum was being introduced in science subjects to ensure these standards were met, the Minister said.

He dismissed suggestions that there was an attempt to impose a “common curriculum” ignoring regional differences. Each board of education would be free to frame its own syllabus based on the core curriculum, he added.

Speaking on the debate on ensuring quality education while expanding access, Mr. Sibal said a critical mass of college graduates was required to create national wealth. The current Gross Enrolment Rate of 12.4 per cent had to be increased to 30 per cent by 2020 and for this hundreds of universities and thousands of colleges had to be started with private sector participation, he said.

While autonomy was required for the success of this venture, it was also important to ensure quality. He had mooted the idea of State governments forming a teacher trainer cadre drawn from college teachers, Mr. Sibal said. He had also exhorted university Vice-Chancellors to train the principals of schools in the university catchment areas on leadership, he added.

“Some States have been known to employ just Class X pass students to teach in schools. We want more people like Kuruvila Jacob who returned from Leeds University and dedicated himself to teaching,” the Minister said.

Earlier, S. Viji, convener of the core committee of the Kuruvila Jacob Initiative, presented a slideshow of the achievements of the former headmaster of the Madras Christian College High School. N. Murali, senior managing director, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., presented the vote of thanks. The oration was attended by alumni of the school, including P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, and M.S. Ananth, director, IIT-Madras.