The Fee Regulation Committee of the Ahmedabad zone, while allowing 5 per cent hike in school fees, has indicted private schools of charging “exorbitant fees”, saying that “there appears to be a systematic attempt on the part of school management to claim inflated expenses”.
In its April 2 order, the Committee, assigned with the task of determining provisional fees of 32 self-financed schools of nine districts, stated: “Fees proposed by many schools are exorbitant as compared to the fees charged by them for earlier years. There appears to be a systematic attempt on the part of school management to claim inflated expenses by way of payment of excessive rents for school building, transportation charges and other activity charges.”
The nine districts that fall under the Committee, chaired by retired Gujarat High Court judge K A Puj, are Ahmedabad city, Ahmedabad district, Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Patan, Sabarkantha, Banskantha, Aravalli, Botad and Kutch.
“In many cases, the school management is collecting fees under different heads such as uniform charges, meal charges, activity charges etc. If these are optional and students are free to choose, there may not be any problem. However, when they are compulsory, the element of profit may not be ruled out,” it added.
The Committee also stated that many schools have failed to submit their complete records. However, it has also allowed the schools to charge higher fee for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
“It is made clear that no school is permitted to collect fees for the first quarter of 2018-19 more than the provisional fees determined for the year 2017-18 with 5 per cent rise therein,” the order read. The annual fees for 2017-18 as decided by the Committee stand at Rs 27,700, Rs 28,600 and Rs 30,800 for pre-primary, lower primary and upper primary classes, respectively.
The Committee has also accepted its limitations in deciding the fee in a short span of time. “Since the provisional fees for each of these schools are to be determined within a time-bound framework it may not be possible to minutely examine all these details. This exercise will be undertaken by the committee after considering objections, if any, raised by any school against determination of provisional fees by the committee,” the order further added.