In a first, the Fee Regulation Committee (FRC) has slapped Rs 1 lakh fine on a private school in Vadodara city after parents accused it of overcharging tuition fees and collecting an additional sum as “stationery” fees. The FRC has directed the school to repay the additional charge amounting to Rs 10 lakh and refund the excess tuition fees as well.
In an order, dated November 21, the FRC stated it has considered a complaint against Akshar Public School on Vasna-Bhaiyli Road submitted to the district education department by nine parents on August 25.
In the complaint, filed through an affidavit, the parents had stated that the school had charged different amounts from different students despite submitting an undertaking regarding compliance with the rules laid down for fee regulation.
The FRC order, released by the panel on Friday in favour of four of the nine parents, stated there was “no clarity” on the exact amount overcharged by the school.
“Since there was no consensus on the amount overcharged, the exact amount is not known. The parents could not give us a common figure in writing,” it read.
The committee, however, ordered the school to pay the four complainants Rs 26,400, which is twice the Rs 13,200 fees that was charged in excess. The FRC also slapped Rs 1 lakh fine on the school and said the school must return the amount charged as “stationery” fees from 400 students within 30 days and furnish the receipts of the same to the committee.
Keyur Rokadia, a member of FRC Vadodara, told The Sunday Express, “We could not ascertain the exact amount the private school charged as stationery fees, but it was approximately Rs 10 lakh at the rate of Rs 2,500 each for 400 students. This is the first time that such an action has been initiated against a school for flouting fees regulation guidelines in Vadodara.”
The school has been given 21 days to appeal against the FRC order by submitting an application to the Fee Revision Committee in Gandhinagar.
Advocate Kishor Pillai of Vadodara Parents Association said, “This is a welcome order and we are hoping that FRC will also take stern action against other big schools who have also flouted the rules. Parents of other schools have also filed similar complaints.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines