After a delay of over one year, the wait of parents for an effective mechanism to fight fee hikes is finally likely to be over.
The formation of a regional-level fee revision committee to hear complaints of parents against fee hikes and unjustified charges levied by schools will be notified in the next few weeks, senior education officials said.
Nand Kumar, principal secretary of state’s school education and sports department who is in Pune for a workshop at the Maharashtra State Council of Education, Research and Training (MSCERT) this week, said the district-level committees had been finalised. “Earlier, there was a slight delay. We had advertised for names of members for the district-level committees after forming the state-level review committee. Finally, we have received the applications and the names have been finalised. We were a little busy with the Winter Session of the tate Assembly last month, but now I don’t think there should be much delay in notifying the district-wise committees,” he said.
The Fee Regulation Act provides for a district-level committee to hear complaints from parent-teacher organisations and the school management on fee hikes. If a matter is not resolved, it can be referred to the state-level revision committee.
In July, the state government had announced the formation of a state-level five-member fee revision committee headed by retired Bombay High Court Justice Dr S Radhakrishnan, which itself came into being nearly one-and-a-half years after the fee regulation Act coming into effect. But the Act still had no teeth in the absence of district-level committees, which were to be the first step of a complaint for aggrieved parents.
However, parents call it too little, too late a decision. “Recently, the Bombay High Court passed an order allowing schools to hike fees up to 15 per cent in the next academic year. We now wonder what the role of this district-level committee will be, given such an order. How will they put a stop to this?” said Sandeep Chavan, member of Forum for Fairness in Education.