To regulate fees of private schools in “extraordinary conditions” such as pandemic, natural calamity etc, the Uttar Pradesh government has amended the Uttar Pradesh Self-Financed Independent Schools (Fee regulation) Act. An ordinance in this regard, cleared by the Cabinet earlier this week, and it was promulgated by Governor Anandiben Patel on Wednesday.
The law gives the state government powers to regulate fees charged by private schools from existing or new students for each academic year.
The new law states, “In extraordinary conditions or emergent circumstances like but not limited to acts of God, epidemic, natural calamities, wars or revolutions, civil commotions, floods etc, the state government may by order, regulate the fees to be charged by recognised schools, from existing students and newly admitted students for each academic year till such time the aforesaid eventualities exist… or till such time as it appears necessary in public interest.”
Under the amended law, there will be a “self-financed Independent school authority” at the divisional level, headed by the divisional commissioner, with additional director, treasury, as member and divisional joint director of education as member-secretary. Moreover, the appellate authority formed under the Uttar Pradesh Private Professional Education Institutes (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act 2006 would work as as “Self Finance Independent School Appellate Authority” till Divisional Self Finance Independent School Appellate Authorities are constituted in each division of the state.
As per the law, the appellate authority will have the powers of the civil court as well as appellate court while hearing appeal. The law states, “The decision passed by the divisional self-finance independent school authority shall be final.”
The state government had recently ordered private schools not to hike fees, amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, some private schools had moved the court against the government’s move.
Deputy Chief Minister and Cabinet Minister for Secondary Education Dinesh Sharma said, “Some private schools had moved the court citing that the state government does not have right to regulate their fee. Considering the Covid pandemic, we had to come out with the ordinance in this regard, which was cleared by the Cabinet on Tuesday and by the Governor on Wednesday.”
He said that under the new law, the state government would be able to regulate fee of the self-financed schools during extraordinary circumstances including pandemic in public interest.
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