Court upholds the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009

The Madras High Court's decision to uphold the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009 on Friday seems to have caused concern to a section of private schools.

N. Ramasubramanian, chief principal and correspondent, Natesan Vidyasala Matriculation School, Mannivakkam, said the Act must not be viewed in isolation.

“We have to see it in the context of the Right to Education Act which makes it mandatory for private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for students from economically weaker sections.”

He said he feared that though the government will compensate for these students, the amount may not match the requirements.

“Just because a few private schools fleece, all private schools cannot be penalised. Now, if the fee determined by the committee is too high, parents will object and seek alternatives. If it is low, I am going to have a problem paying my teachers or enhancing our infrastructure,” Mr. Ramasubramanian added.

T.S. Thiyagarajan, correspondent, Sri Sai Vivekananda Vidyalaya Matriculation School, Kodungaiyur, said the school, run by a charitable trust, already caters to many children from underprivileged backgrounds.

“We were asked how much fees we charge, but the truth is that nearly Rs. 4 lakh is the outstanding fee amount because many of our children could not pay this year. How do we explain these things to the Department?” he asked, adding that the school provided scholarships to deserving students.

In late 2009, the School Education Department constituted a committee to determine the fee structure for unaided private schools in the State under the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009.

The committee being headed by former Madras High Court Judge K. Govindarajan has been on the job since. Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Justice Govindarajan said a team of 50 members was busy calculating the appropriate fees for private schools.

“There are nearly 11,000 private schools in the State. Fixing the right fee in a school-specific manner is no easy task. It will have to be placed before the committee. We are doing our best to complete the exercise by the end of this month,” he said.

RELATED NEWS

Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012