Special Correspondent

Bill tabled in Assembly also seeks to cover CBSE schools

Move in the wake of complaints of private schools collecting exorbitant fees

Committee can recommend disaffiliation of a school to CBSE

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Bill 2009, tabled in the Assembly on Thursday, envisages constitution of a six-member committee to determine fees for admission to any standard or course of study in private schools.

The Bill also seeks to cover schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

It enables the proposed committee to recommend disaffiliation of a school to the CBSE.

School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu, who introduced the Bill, said that the government’s action was sequel to complaints about many private schools collecting exorbitant fees and the absence of a uniform procedure for fixing fees under different heads by private schools. Headed by a former High Court Judge, the proposed committee would include the Additional Secretary in the School Education Department, Joint Chief Engineer (Buildings) in the Public Works Department and Directors of School Education, Matriculation Schools and Elementary Education.

The term of office of the panel’s chairperson would be three years.

The committee would determine the fees that could be levied by a private school taking into account factors such as location, infrastructure, expenditure on administration and maintenance and reasonable surplus required for growth and development of the institution.

Any school aggrieved at the decision of the committee could file its objection before the panel within 15 days from the receipt of the decision. Orders passed by the committee “shall be final and binding” on the private school for three academic years. At the end of the period the school could apply for revision.

In the case of government schools and those receiving government aid the government would fix the fees.

Apart from fee determination, the committee would hear complaints on collection of fees in excess of what was determined by it or fixed by the government.

If it came to the conclusion that the private school had collected excess fees, it would recommend to the appropriate competent authority the cancellation of recognition or approval.

The Bill prescribed imprisonment for a term of not less than three years, which might extend up to seven years. Those convicted under the legislation would refund the excess fees to pupils.

District-level committees, headed by the Chief Educational Officers of the district concerned, would also be formed.

They would search and inspect the records of schools.