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Maharashtra govt issues GR, asks private schools to reduce fees one time by 15%

According to the GR, for parents who have paid the full fee, the school management will either adjust the additional fee (against the reduced 15 per cent) next month, quarter or academic year, or refund the same.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
Updated: August 13, 2021 7:43:04 am
The department had initially wanted to introduce an ordinance by amending the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011, but some Cabinet members had opposed this.The department had initially wanted to introduce an ordinance by amending the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011, but some Cabinet members had opposed this. (File Photo)

Day after the state Cabinet differed on promulgating an ordinance, the Maharashtra government on Thursday issued a government resolution (GR) stating that the school fee fixed for the 2021-22 academic year should be reduced “one-time” by 15 per cent for private schools of all boards. A GR, however, is not a mandatory order.

According to the GR, for parents who have paid the full fee, the school management will either adjust the additional fee (against the reduced 15 per cent) next month, quarter or academic year, or refund the same.

In case of any dispute, complaints should be raised with the divisional fee regulatory or the divisional grievance redressal committees whose decision will be final.

The GR further said that in case of non-payment of fees or pending fees, students should not be prevented from attending physical or online classes and exams. Also, their results should not be withheld. “These orders will be applicable to schools of all boards and all mediums with immediate effect,” the GR added.

The school education department issued the order citing Supreme Court’s May order asking Rajasthan to charge 15 per cent less annual fee in lieu of unutilised facilities by students, and the SC recently directing Maharashtra government to consider this order.

The department had initially wanted to introduce an ordinance by amending the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011, but some Cabinet members had opposed this. The department was insisting on an ordinance with a view that it will not be challenged in court.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet again differed on promulgating the ordinance, which led to the issuance of a GR.

Sources said that Cabinet members were of the view that some schools have already reduced fees in consultation with the parent teacher associations, and in some schools, parents who can afford are paying the fees and there was no pressing reason to reduce fees.

Another view was that the SC had not asked the government to promulgate an ordinance, and that such a move may lead to other sections demanding similar concessions, added sources.

Kapil Patil, president of Lok Bharati and member of the Legislative Council from Mumbai Teachers constituency, welcomed the move. He, however, said the government should have provided relief to students whose parents had lost jobs in the pandemic on the lines of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

“Twenty-five per cent RTE seats are reserved for below poverty line students in private unaided schools and the government pays their fees. During the pandemic, many parents have lost their jobs. So, the government should have paid the fees of such children. It would help educational institutes to run their operations and also help teachers to get their salaries,” said Patil.

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