In response to the Supreme Court’s interim order on July 11 regarding the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017, and a petition filed by the Federation of Self-Financed Schools, the Gujarat government on Tuesday submitted a list of “optional co-curricular activities” for private schools.
The list of 10 activities that cannot be charged as compulsory co-curricular activities by self-financed schools include horse riding, swimming, hostel, transportation, food, excursions and field visits, club activities, books and stationery, all co-curricular activities not prescribed in respective school boards and all other activities announced as optional by the state government in the meanwhile.
The Supreme Court in its order on July 11 had stated, “We direct that the state of Gujarat shall immediately not later than one week communicate in written to the petitioners’ schools, the items which it considers optional for the purpose of charging fees and the petitioners’ schools shall submit their proposals in compliance within two weeks thereafter.” The court ordered that private schools cannot charge additional fees under various heads, mostly termed as “co-curricular activities”, apart from the tuition fee.
The state government in its reply had requested the apex court not to make extra-curricular activities compulsory for students in private schools. The government had on Tuesday also declared that all those schools that have not submitted their proposals and affidavits to the Fee Regulatory Committees (FRC) must do so by July 31.
The Supreme Court had directed the government to give two weeks to over 16,000 private schools. A total of 1,860 schools have not submitted their proposals or affidavits to the Fee Regulatory Committees for the academic session 2018-19 and 2017-18 and have to submit their applications within two weeks.
After the Gujarat High Court’s verdict on December 27, 2017, that declared the state government’s law to regulate fees as constitutionally valid, and that the state legislature was competent and had the authority to form laws for state boards, the CBSE and ICSE, the Federation of Self-Financed Schools filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
On January 15, this year, the Supreme Court ordered that no coercive action be taken against schools that had not yet submitted their fee proposals before the FRC.
In March, the Supreme Court ruled that schools would collect only provisional fees until the matter is finally settled. The apex court also asked the Gujarat government to reconstitute the FRC and Revisional Authority under the Act.
The government was directed to hear the representatives of petitioner schools and representatives from parents.