'Hefty annual charges' replace capitation fee in Private Schools

After getting no relief in paying advance fee in private schools, the parents whose kids are enrolled in private schools are now being charged a hefty amount as annual charges by the concerned.

According to parents, the schools are collecting the amount in cash form and do not accept cheque or online transactions for the same. “The schools don’t provide a receipt against this money but have asked the parents to pay the amount every year,” a parent said.

Almost every school has fixed the annual charge as Rs 10000 to Rs 15000 which over the years surpasses the now scrapped one time donation or capitation fee. “Earlier, the schools would charge Rs 75000 to Rs 1 lakh as one time donation at the time of admission. But now we have to pay Rs 10000 to Rs 15000 per year upto class 10th or 12th which amounts to Rs two lakh. The amount is double than the donation fee,” the parent said.

The J&K government had earlier imposed a ban on capitation fee charged by private schools at the time of admission. The order was issued by the former Principal Secretary School Education department, Asgar Samoon amid complaints of illegal profiteering by private schools.

The Greater Kashmir received scores of calls from aggrieved parents who complained that the schools are now charging huge amounts as annual fee from parents in place of capitation fee. “During previous years, schools used to charge Rs 1500 to Rs 3500 as annual fee from parents but this year they have increased it to Rs 15000 without any approval from the government or school fee fixation committee,” said Rouf Ahmad, a parent from Srinagar.

President Private Schools Association J&K (PSAJK) G N Var said the association has already conveyed the schools not to collect any capitation fee from parents and any amount collected from parents should get reflected on a proper receipt.

 “Basically the government issued the order to ban private schools from charging donations when almost every CBSE affiliated school had completed the admission process and collected capitation fee and they didn’t refund the money to parents,” he said.

He however justified charging a huge amount of donation by schools saying that it was to be paid annually instead of one time which would make parents bound to keep their ward in the same school. “When a parent pays one lakh rupees as one time donation he forcibly has to continue studies of his kid in the same school. But if the same amount is paid on a yearly basis he can change the school as per his choice,” he said.

He however said that schools should not charge a single penny underhand and instead provide a proper receipt to concerned parents to ensure transparency in the system.

While the government is yet to appoint new chairman for School Fee Fixation Committee (SFFC) an official said the government has amended the law and the aggrieved parents can send their applications to the committee with proofs. “Once the applications are submitted to the committee, they will recommend action against erring schools as per law,” the official said.