Response to revised fee structure ranges from disappointment to anger

“Has it been declared?”; “Where should I collect the papers?”; “How much have you got?” – with such questions being asked with evident panic, the scene at Jaigopal Garodia School, Saidapet, resembled that of a day when examination results are declared.

Except that this time, school correspondents and principals were asking the questions.

When the revised fee structure determined by the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee headed by former Madras High Court judge K. Raviraja Pandian was handed over by the Chief Educational Officer (CEO) to representatives of a section of private schools in Chennai, the responses ranged from disappointment to anger – disappointment, that the increase in the fee was negligible in most cases and anger, at the lack of adequate communication.

The revised reports of the fee structures were made available to only 291 of the 533 schools in the city that had sought revision.

Several school heads came to the venue only to learn that their report was not ready, and were asked to contact the CEO's office on Wednesday. V. Uma Maheshwari, principal-trainee, Jaigopal Garodia Hindu Vidyalaya, West Mambalam, said: “They could have intimated the schools whose reports were not ready as yet.”

Those who received reports – largely representatives of nursery and primary schools – of the new fee structures said the rise was marginal and gave little scope to enhance teachers' salaries or invest in new infrastructure.

Venus R. Chellappa, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Nursery and Primary School Managements Associations, said: “There is hardly any increase from what the Govindarajan Committee prescribed earlier. The increase is by a few hundred rupees.”

K. Sivaraj, Correspondent of Sri Rajalakshmi Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Mandavelipakkam, said that when the Committee sought the details regarding expenses and fee collected previously, the information was presented class-wise. “But now, they have grouped primary sections, middle school and plus two prescribing a common fee for all classes in a category, he said.”

The revised fee structure was handed over to schools in Kancheepuram district at S.S.K.V. Matriculation School by officials from the office of Inspector of Matriculation Schools.

President of the Federation of Private Schools Associations, Kancheepuram, Sam Daniel and chief coordinator, Prem Shankar, said that the revised fee amounts brought hardly any cheer to the school managements.

While the managements had sought a minimum of Rs.5,000 to 8,000 as basic fee till class X and Rs.12,000 to Rs.15,000 for classes XI and XII, the Committee permitted only a fee of Rs.3,500 to Rs.5,000 upto class X and Rs.8,000 to Rs.10,000 for classes XI and XII.

Special Officer in the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee A. Thirugnanasambandam said the reports of the schools that are yet to receive the revised fee structure would be ready by Wednesday.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

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