It was results time for several city schools. Not the class XII results, but the much-awaited decision on fee structure of private schools. The School Education Department on Tuesday handed over individual letters to heads of hundreds of private schools in the city, specifying how much fees they could charge.
This follows the exercise taken up by the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee, a statutory panel appointed by the State government to finalise the fee structure for private schools, after collecting information from schools on their income and expenditure.
Last week, Justice K. Govindarajan, chairperson of the committee, said that the committee, on an average, fixed Rs.11,000 for higher secondary schools, Rs.9,000 for high schools, Rs.8,000 for middle schools and Rs.5,000 for elementary schools in the city.
Around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, heads and correspondents of several city schools gathered at Karnataka Sangha School in T. Nagar for a meeting convened by the Chief Educational Officer. Each school was given an exclusive, sealed envelope with a letter stating the amount that could be charged for each class.
According to an Education Department official, a revised fee structure had been decided for as many as 623 schools. “We have about 820 private schools in the city. The committee is awaiting certain particulars from about 140-odd schools. The new fee structure is ready for all the other schools,” he said.
Names of schools were put up on a notice board and they were grouped in a manner in which about hundred schools would receive their envelopes from an official in one particular classroom.
School heads who received their envelopes eagerly opened it, only to look disappointed soon after. “My school has been prescribed one fourth of the current fee. How do we run the school? How do we pay the teachers?” asked the head of a nursery and primary school in north Chennai.
“Look at my letter. It says we can collect only Rs.640 per year for LKG. That is just a little over Rs.50 per month. Do you think an institution can be sustained with this kind of income” asked another head. Another school was allowed to charge Rs.5,650 for L.K.G. and Rs.9,250 for Class XII.
Schools were also given the option of appealing to the committee within 15 days. “I think I will produce our school's complete accounts, auditor's reports and show them how we have not been charging too high. The government just wants to make it difficult for private schools to function,” said head of a school in Royapuram.
Some schools were told that their fee structure was still being worked out and they would receive the intimation soon. Many of the popular schools in the city are yet to receive any intimation, according to sources. The committee had originally said that private schools under the CBSE stream would also be covered. A section of CBSE schools said that though they gave some particulars to the department, they had not received any intimation on a revised fee structure.
School-specific details on revised fees will soon be available on www.pallikalvi.in, the official website of the School Education Department.