Chennai: In a response to Srimathi Sundaravalli Memorial (SSM) School's demand of Rs 2 lakh as caution deposit from parents, the state government has issued a stern warning to all private schools including schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE that demanding excess fees could attract imprisonment and de-recognition.
Immediately after the parents' protest against the school last week, the school education department officials tried to convince the school management to withdraw the circular. But, the school management has refused to withdraw it citing the school was affiliated to CBSE board.
“t must be kept in mind that the schools are established by non-profit entities such as societies/trusts/companies mandated by the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulations) Act and they owe their duty and social responsibility to the public. In other words, commercialization of education is against the basic tenets of charitable institutes,” the director of school education said in a circular to all CEOs.
“Schools affiliated to CBSE/ICSE boards to notify tuition fees before August 15 so that fee committee can verify whether the fee collected by the school is commensurate with the facilities provided,” V.C. Rameswaramurugan, director of school education said in a circular on Monday.
“The committee can also hear complaints with regard to the collection of excess fees by a school affiliated to CBSE and to recommend to CBSE for disaffiliation of the school if it comes to the conclusion that the school has collected excess fees,” the circular said.
“All private schools (other than CBSE/ICSE schools), which have not so far submitted details for fees fixation shall apply to the Fee Determination Committee and get the fee structure approved,” it said.
It further urged all schools to display tuition fees fixed by the fee committee in case of private schools (other thanCBSE/ICSE schools). CBSE and ICSE schools will have to display the notified fees on the notice board, website or in any other mode.
“No private school shall collect fees in excess of the tuition fees fixed by the committee or notified by the schools in case of CBSE/ICSE schools,” he warned.
“If any private school is found collecting fees in excess of the fees fixed by the committee or fees notified by the schools affiliated to CBSE/ICSE, the Chief Educational Officers are requested to initiate action against the school concerned under section 9 (i) of the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009,” the circular added.
The provision envisages punishment of imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 on conviction. Section 9 (2) of the Act also envisages that the person convicted shall refund to the people from whom the excess fee was collected in contravention of the Act.
It also urged the CEOs to initiate action to de-recognise the school following due procedure.
Educationist Prince Gajendrababu urged the state government to evolve a mechanism to register the excess fee collection complaints. “They should register the complaint from parents and should give a receipt for the complaint with a complaint registration number,” he demanded.
“Many complaints were given to the fee determination committee, but there is no acknowledgement or record is maintained for the complaints. So you cannot exactly know how many complaints were registered and what actions have been taken,” he said.
“So, there should be a mechanism to register the complaint and office should give a receipt with complaint registration number. They should take action within a specified period of time by verifying facts. If the school does not comply with the order, the government should take over the school,” he suggested....