Fee panel to tighten noose around private schools

Won’t Allow Arbitrary Hike: Justice Nazki

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, July 4: In a decision that could bring relief to thousands of parents in Jammu and Kashmir, the newly-constituted Fee Structure Panel is all set to issue a circular next week to put  freeze on hiking of fee by more than 5000 private educational institutions of the State. Holding that seeking donations and charging capitation fee from students is illegal in light of a Supreme Court direction, the Committee observed; “it will have a final say on deciding fee proposed by private schools of the State”.
“After the constitution of the Committee, the schools cannot increase fee without prior approval from the panel. And in this context, the committee will issue a circular within next few days,” Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki, who was appointed head of the Committee, told Greater Kashmir on Thursday. “Our directions are binding on all private educational institutions of the State,” he said.
The fee panel headed by Nazki was constituted by the School Education Department in May this year following a direction from the High Court. Nazki was nominated as the head of the panel by Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, MM Kumar. Nazki said private educational institutions have to justify before the panel the fee charged by them.
“If anybody has issues about existing fee structure or related matters of any school, he/she should approach us. We will look into the matter and decide accordingly,” he said.
He added that the panel’s mandate is not only confined to fee structure “but ensuring quality education in private educational institutions is also our domain.”
Nazki, who retired as Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, said all private schools should place their proposed fee structure before the panel for approval. “As per the Apex Court direction, all private educational institutions must place their proposed fee structure before the panel. The panel would decide on the proposal keeping in mind the infrastructure and facilitates available, the investments made, salaries paid to the teachers and staff, future plans for expansion and/or betterment of the institute,” he said, adding that the panel is empowered to take a final call on deciding the fee and “we will ensure that no capitation fee is charged from parents.
“The Apex Court makes it clear that once fees are fixed, the schools cannot charge anything above the amount fixed thereof,” he said.
“The fee structure decided by the panel cannot be revised for three years. Once the period (three years) is over, then only schools can seek revision of fee structure,” he added.
The former judge said that private schools are not meant for earning profits but “it is a pure charitable activity”.
“Running of a school is not a commercial activity and nobody should make profit out of these for his personal gains. Whatever profit is made should be utilized for betterment of the schools,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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