Ahead of the academic year, stakeholders are calling for monitoring the collection of fees determined for all private city schools by the government-appointed Private Fee Determination Committee.
Though the committee was constituted by the government in 2010 to regulate fees collected by private unaided schools in the State, challenges remain, they say.
S. Arumainathan, secretary, Tamil Nadu Students Parents Welfare Association, who has led several fee-related protests, said that few parents come forward to complain about collection of excessive fees. “The onus must be on the government to check if schools are collecting the prescribed fee. Many parents are apprehensive because they do not want the relationship with the school to sour. There must be a monitoring committee in each district,” he said.
The committee, headed by Justice S.R Singaravelu, has determined the fees for schools in the State for three years beginning 2013. The fee increases by 9 per cent on an average for the first two academic years and 15 per cent for the third academic year. Classes from LKG up to XII have been grouped into different slabs, and the fee for each of them has been determined.
Divya, a parent of a CBSE school student, said she was not aware that such a committee existed. “We feel that the term fee charged by the school is reasonable, but the amount collected for notebooks and textbooks can be lesser. Even if the school is charging excess fee, a single parent cannot take the risk of complaining. More parents need to be aware of this provision,” she said.
Committee sources said they had written to the government to have, under it, a vigilance squad with a manager at the rank of a DSP that can conduct surprise inspections in schools. “It is under consideration,” an official source said, adding that in 2013-14, they had resolved issues of excess fee collection and asked schools to refund excess fee. Except for absentee schools, the fee structure for all schools has been determined.
As of now, the fees for schools including matriculation, CBSE and ICSE schools have been published on the website in a staggered manner. An official said they would soon publish a comprehensive list for city schools without overlaps. Parents can view the fee structure at www.tn.gov.in/department/28.