Even as the Department of Public Instruction has come up with a formula for private schools to fix fees, private school managements seem to be either indifferent to or unaware of the State government’s move.

As per the notification issued by the Department of Public Instruction last month, schools can charge fees under three subheads (see graphic). The department has also placed a cap on the fees that private unaided schools can collect.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act also mandates that school notify the fees.

Confusion

Private school managements, however, have dismissed the formula as “unscientific” and “outdated”.

Most of them have already announced a hike of between 5 per cent and 20 per cent of last year’s fees. On their websites, top schools have indicated that they collect fees under heads such as “lab fee”, “resource fee” and “class outbound and life skills trip fee”.

L.R. Shivarame Gowda, chairperson of the Karnataka Federation of Independent Schools Management, claims the State Education Department’s formula is not applicable to CBSE and ICSE schools, while the department insists that it is binding on all schools.

“Though we had a formula in place applicable to all schools last year, we did not initiate action against schools for not adhering to the norms. But this year onwards, the department will make sure that this is implemented,” a source in the department said.

Fee hike

D. Shashi Kumar, organising secretary of the Karnataka State Private Schools Managements’ Federation, argues that a hike of 15 to 20 per cent is a “natural” hike and a special development fee of Rs. 600 fixed by the department in 1995 is unscientific. “It has been close to two decades now and the department has not yet revised this fee structure,” he complained.

Ramesh C.A., principal of Suma Public High School, Kempapura, which is planning an 11 per cent hike this year, says it is impossible to provide all facilities expected by parents with the fee structure fixed by the government. “Small schools like ours would suffer the most.”

Report to HC

Several private school managements are demanding new guidelines for fee fixation. Last year, the department had submitted a report to the High Court stating the need to establish a commission to monitor fee structure of private unaided schools. The report had also suggested that private schools could be classified into various categories based on infrastructure and the fees fixed accordingly. However, no action has been taken on the proposal.

Welcomed

Parents appear to be hapless bystanders in this long-drawn tussle between the department and private school managements.

Sathyavati B. Rao, a parent whose daughter studies in class 6, welcomed the government’s move to regulate fees. “The government’s job does not end with fixing a formula. It has to ensure that schools adhere to it,” she said.

H.R. Ramesh, parent of a student in a Basaveshwaranagar school, said, “I paid Rs. 16,200 for my child for UKG in 2011 and this year the school is asking for Rs. 32,000.”

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