With the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee making the fee structure of schools that appealed for a revision available on the government website, the focus is now on enforcing it.
While some section of parents are bent on pressuring managements to start abiding by the fee structure prescribed by the Committee, some feel that the government is restricting the freedom of schools.
On Monday, a section of parents from two schools — Seventh Day Adventist Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Vepery and St. John's Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Alwarthirunagar — met the Director of Matriculation Schools with a representation that the managements were not following the fee structure prescribed by the committee chaired by Justice K. Raviraja Pandian.
The prescribed fee by the committee is Rs. 6,750 for LKG and Rs. 11,950 for Class XII, but parents were asked to pay Rs. 17,000 for LKG and Rs. 28,000 for Class XII, said members of the Students-Parents Welfare Association of St. John's Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
“We don't get a proper receipt for the fee paid and management does not even speak to us properly,” said Salman Harith, secretary of the association.
Another group of parents claimed to be on a hunger strike outside Kaligi Ranganathan Montford Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Perambur, demanding that the school display the fee structure on the notice board and start following it.
According to R.J. Bhuvanesh, CEO of the school, the newly-prescribed fee structure is less than that allowed by the Govindarajan Committee.
“Wrong data on our school has been entered and therefore we are going to go to court,” said Mr. Bhuvanesh. He said that 92 per cent of students have paid their fees, and he had asked the section of parents who are protesting that they need not pay the fee.
“There are discrepancies in the fee prescribed by the committee, but as the school has to run I have said children of the protesting parents can also attend classes. I don't think they should create such unruly scenes outside the school,” he added.
Lakshmi Srinivasan, principal, P.S. Senior Secondary School, says that in the current scenario it may not be fair to say that schools are charging high fees, when the Committee itself has prescribed the amount after taking into account the facilities available.
“Even now, our school is among those collecting lower fees in the CBSE sector,” she says.
While many parents are happy to note than the fee structure prescribed for their school is less than what they are paying, some feel schools should be given time.
A few think the fee prescribed by a school where their children study is commensurate with the amenities provided.
Reena Nirula, parent of Kids Central Nursery and Primary School, Kotturpuram, says, “I am willing to pay the fee if what the school is offering is adding substantial value for the growth of my children.”
She says that the Government is restricting choice and killing entrepreneurship in education by prescribing a fee structure. “I enrolled my children in a school for a holistic development,” she adds.
The circular issued by the Director of Matriculation Schools reads that schools that do not follow the fee structure will be penalised based on the Tamil Nadu School Fees Collection Regulation Act.
A senior official from the School Education Department has said that parents can make a complaint to the Director of Matriculation schools if managements are not abiding by the fee structure.
“All the CEOs have been given instructions to issue show cause notice to schools not following it,” added the official.
Keywords: schools fees