School fee fixation committee defunct for 4 months

Even as complaints against private schools for charging tuition fee in violation of norms continue to pour in the J&K School Fee Fixation Committee (SFFC) is defunct for the past four months.

An official said the term of chairman SFFC, Justice (Retd) Imtiyaz Hussian ended on July 28.

He said the authorities had recommended extension in his tenure for one year. “The matter went to then Advisor Khurshid Ahmad Ganai who recommended for constitution of a panel to take a call on the issue. But the entire process got shelved for unknown reasons,” the official said.

He said the delay in appointment of the Chairman has led to uncertainty about the fate of the committee which is a regulatory body with a mandate to regulate fee structure of schools.

“This has in turn given a free hand to the private schools to charge tuition and annual fee to the students as per their own will,” said the official, adding there was no clarity on whether the committee will be made functional.

As the government continues to delay the decision the reports said the private schools have enhanced tuition fee as well as annual fee for current academic session allegedly in violation of norms.

The Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has also failed to check functioning of the private schools.

An official said since the Committee was defunct the DSEK should have activated the offices of Chief Education Officers to inspect the private schools to check the schools were abiding by the norms.

The SFFC was constituted in 2015 in the wake of Supreme Court (SC) directions asking states to regulate fee structure in the private schools.

The term of its Chairman is two years in J&K.  “To make this committee workable, the department amended school education Act 2002 to make the Committee part of the Act,” another official said.

 “The recommendations made by the SFFC on fee structure in the schools are implemented by the DSEK through Chief Education Officers,” the official said.