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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Pune school fee regulation: 5-member committee to address parental objections

Pune school fee hike: The Maharashtra Fee Regulation Act 2011 has provisions for the formation of a divisional fee regulatory committee to resolve fee-related complaints between school management and parent-teacher association.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
Updated: June 9, 2021 3:23:19 pm
Varsha GaikwadVarsha Gaikwad, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister. (File photo)

Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has announced the formation of district fee regulation committees after receiving several complaints from parents of schools hiking fees even during the pandemic and not heeding complaints.

Taking to Twitter on Monday night, Gaikwad said, “Parents aggrieved by unjust school fee hike, look no further. Divisional Fee Regulatory Committees (DFRCs) are active now in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik & Aurangabad. While most educational institutions have been doing a stellar job during the pandemic, we’ve still been receiving representations/complaints from parents regarding overcharging by a few. DFRCs for the remaining divisions will soon be formed. Based on the selection panel’s recommendations, we’ve also strengthened the state level revision committee. Our policy discourages commercialisation and profiteering in the education sector. Strict action will be taken against schools indulging in malpractices.”

The DFRC for Pune district has retired district judge Vivek Hood as chairperson and four members, including Gangadhar Mhamane, retired director of education; T N Supe, divisional chairman of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education; chartered accountant Abhijeet Mahale; and regional deputy director of education, Pune.

The Maharashtra Fee Regulation Act 2011 has provisions for the formation of a divisional fee regulatory committee to resolve fee-related complaints between school management and parent-teacher association. As per the Act, schools can only increase their annual fees by a maximum of 15 per cent every two years. The decision to hike fees has to be approved in the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) body formed at the school level.

Meanwhile, education activists are already raising objections to the same.

“There is a basic flaw in the rules which makes the entire process difficult for parents. Firstly, if any parent has to complain to the DFRC, it has to be done within a month of the fee hike but many schools hiked their fees last year, which parents are fighting,” said Mukund Kirdat, education activist and chief, AAP city unit.

“In many schools, parent-teacher associations are not in place due to the pandemic. However, according to the Act, PTA approval is needed for fee hike and it is the PTA which can complain of fee hikes. If not the PTA complaint, 25 per cent of parents can come together and complain. But this goes against the principle of justice. Even if a single parent has a complaint, why should they not be given a hearing? All these issues need to be ironed out too, just forming DFRC isn’t enough,” said Kirdat.

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