Justice Attar likely to head Fee Fixation panel

The government is likely to appoint Justice (retd) Muzaffar Attar as new chairman of School Fee Fixation Committee (SFFC) for private schools which has been defunct for more than a year now.

Principal Secretary School Education confirmed the SFFC will be made functional soon. “Yes, the government will appoint a new chairman to the committee to make it functional,” Samoon said.

The move is being described as a sigh of relief for the parents as the decision will coincides with the commencement of new admission sessions in private schools for kindergarten classes.

The SFFC was rendered defunct after the term of its previous chairman, Justice (retd) Imtiyaz Hussian ended on July 28 last year.

“Since then the committee was defunct and no orders for regulation of fees in private schools was issued. But now we expect that the private schools will be regulated by the SFFC and also to put a check on illegal profiteering by the educational institutions,” an official said.

In January 2019, the SFFC had already issued an order wherein the private schools were barred to charge any donation or capitation fee at the time of admission of the students. However, the order was not implemented as the term of the former chairman expired seven months later.

Meanwhile, Samoon said the government will also notify the rules of Right to Education (RTE) Act in J&K soon. The Act became applicable to J&K after abrogation of Article 370 and Re-organisation of erstwhile state of J&K into two Union territories.

Under the Act, the schools are barred from charging any capitation at the time of admission and the private schools have to keep 25 percent quota reserved for students belonging to economically weaker sections.

The J&K government is also planning to bring reforms in functioning of District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs). The move will be initiated in line with the newly announced Education Policy by Government of India.

“Under the policy, 20 DIETs in JK will be designated as teacher training colleges to teach for three year integrated B Ed to 4,000 government school teachers with 10+2 qualification in home districts,” Samoon said.

He said the degrees will be awarded by Kashmir and Jammu Universities during 2020-2021 academic year. He said under the new policy, the department was also planning to upgrade the existing Higher Secondary Schools to Colleges to ensure higher education to students at their doorsteps.

“For this, we need to have additional classrooms, libraries, laboratories in these higher secondary schools for quality education. We are also working on curriculum reforms and teacher education. JKSCERT is being established very soon as well,” he said.