Liffy Thomas

They are contemplating curbs on co-curricular activities

CHENNAI: While parents have welcomed the fixation of fees in private schools, a majority of private school managements say the fee structure finalised by the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee is unjustifiable.

As an immediate fallout of the fee structure finalised by the committee, these schools are contemplating cutting down on co-curricular activities such as graduation day and annual day, technology-based teaching, imposing a freeze on recruitment of teachers and curbing any additional expenditure.

For the parents, how effectively the recommendations made by the committee are monitored is a cause for concern. But, they unreservedly welcome the regulation.

“The government should keep an eye on schools and ensure that they do not collect money as capitation fees and under other heads,” says K. Mohan, a parent.

But, for most managements, the committee's direction to pay teachers as per the Sixth Pay Commission has come as a shock. “Asking us to pay on a par with government school teachers and curtailing the fee of students is in no way justified. Based on the Pay Commission, the salary of teachers will range from Rs.20,000 to 40,000,” says Father A. Stanley Sebastian, secretary, Chennai Mylai Education Society, which manages around 24 aided primary and higher secondary schools under the Madras Diocese. Not recruiting teachers will burden existing teachers and render many others jobless, say management heads.

Representatives from around 500 schools, who met here on Saturday said they would appeal the government to revise the fee structure. “We want the primary school fee increased from the current Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000; middle school from Rs.8,000 to Rs.12,000; senior school to Rs.20,000 and higher secondary to Rs.25,000,” said N. Vijayan, general secretary of the Federation of Matriculation Schools' Associations in Tamil Nadu. Members wanted the Inspectorate to take action on schools based on complaints, rather than penalising all. Fifty per cent of a school's revenue goes towards paying salaries to teachers, followed by infrastructural amenities and extra-curricular activities, say schools.

The Velammal Group of Schools, which employs around 3,000 teachers, says if the order is finally passed it will be forced to cut its 50-100 per cent fee waiver for students of staff members and scholarship for Plus I and II students.

Shree Niketan Matriculation Higher Secondary School has decided to call off its annual day, slated for June. The average expense for the event costs the school Rs.2.5 lakh, which includes getting the stage ready with audio system and seating arrangements

. “To penalise 95 per cent of schools is wrong. For the holistic growth of children, we conduct around 10-15 major events a year, all that will have to see a cut,” says P. Vishnucharan, correspondent.