Govt child rights body to recommend 10% cap on fee hike in private schools

Bringing relief to parents beset by frequent and arbitrary increases in school fees, a government commission is likely to suggest a 10% yearly cap on the fee hike permissible by private, unaided schools, with provisions for penalties in case of violations, two officials familiar with the development said.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a statutory body, is in the process of making a recommendation to that effect to the human resource development (HRD) ministry, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Although fixing school fees is the domain of state governments, in the absence of a standard fee policy for unaided schools, there has been a growing clamor for central regulations.

India has 3,50,000 private, unaided schools — 24% of all schools — where 75 million children, or 38% of all students, study. Such schools do not receive any grant from the government and have to generate their own revenue for sustenance.

Many cities across India have of late seen parents protest arbitrary fee hikes by such schools. In Delhi and Mumbai, for instance, the fee hike in private, unaided schools in last year varied between 10 % and 40 %.

Inundated with complaints from parents, NCPCR, the country’s apex child rights body, has drafted regulations to put in place a uniform fee framework for unaided private schools. It will propose setting up a district fee regulatory authority in states to monitor school fee increases.

The draft regulations will also suggest a formula for determining fees, based on a school’s location, costs incurred, revenue earned, student strength, and other parameters. “We will send the draft regulation to HRD ministry shortly for action,” said a senior NCPCR official.

The framework:

The framework is for private unaided schools – which are 23% of the total schools in India and cater to 36% of the total population of children attending school.

The framework is a model document that may be recommended to states where the fee regulation mechanism does not work effectively.

According to the draft regulations, if a school violates the norms provided in the uniform fee framework, the respective government can bar the school from taking new admissions for the next academic year or impose a fine equivalent to 10% of the total revenue generated by the school or society or trust in the preceding year.

Recommendations:

A 10% yearly cap on fee hike in private, unaided schools.

Set up a district fee regulatory authority in states to monitor school fee increases.

About NCPCR:

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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