SRINAGAR: In order to contain the growing trends of commercialisation in the education system by some private Schools, the Jammu and Kashmir government is likely to strengthen its Fee fixation and regulation Committee by notifying the draft rules in coming days.
The parents’ bodies and School Managements have publicly appreciated the working of Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee that has successfully regulated the fee of hundreds of Private schools in a short span of time that has helped to minimise the major tussle on fee structure between parents and School Managements.
Sources told that the FFRC received more than 700 files till July 31, 2021 from Private schools for regulation of fee structure in the last four months.
The committee has scrutinized most of the files and regulated fees of more than 500 schools. It is learnt that orders of many more schools are in pipeline in the committee as they have been asked to make good the deficiencies found in their files.
Sources said that this all became possible when the government equipped the FFRC with statutory powers under the guidelines of new education policy and J&K School Education Act 2002. The functioning of the committee became more vibrant when the government later drafted rules for working of the committee. The rules were cleared by the Law department and also approved by Advisor to Lt. Governor of J&K UT.
These rules were adopted by the committee after a resolution was passed in a meeting held in the month of March 2021, chaired by Chairperson FFRC and attended by Principal Secretary Govt. Education Deptt., Secretary JKBoSE, and Director School Education Jammu at Jammu. The draft rules are now to be notified by the government and all stakeholders are anxiously waiting for the Government approval.
Sources said that by virtue of the statutory powers the FFRC has passed some historical orders regarding banning of admission fee, No hike in annual fee and tuition fee for the year 2021 and also revoking of a controversial order issued by previous committee vide order No 01, 2019, dated 28 January 2019.
Government came under sharp criticism when people hit roads to protest in the year 2019, for that controversial order. That order allowed all the schools to avail a universal hike of 6 percent yearly while the schools having fee less than 1000 and annual fee less than 6000 were given liberty to fix fee on their own with some ambiguous conditions. “The order was misused and so many cases surfaced before the committee wherein schools have hiked the fee exorbitantly and against the fixed norms,” sources said.
The government is defending a number of petitions in different courts of Jammu and Srinagar and one in the Supreme Court also wherein some school managements have challenged the committee orders. Most of the orders challenged have been passed in light of the draft rules particularly against the schools indulging in profiteering and charging illegal fees.
The committee has fixed a reasonable fee for these schools after considering all the factors governing the subject in the light of draft rules. The legal counsel representing the government has filed a similar response in the courts and therefore any delay in notifying the rules will make the position of government very awkward and also affect the committee that has been working tirelessly to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders.
This is also in place to mention here that by virtue of these rules the FFRC Chairperson has been given the authority to regulate fee structure of schools having fee structure upto Rs 1500 per month and Annual Fee upto Rs 6000 and it is for this reason that Fee structure of more than 90% schools in winter zone and substantial number of schools of summer zone have been regulated.
According to the rules the schools whose fee is higher than the above needs to be fixed by the committee for which the presence of Principal Secretary to Government School Education Department and Secretary J&K Board of School Education, besides Director School Education is mandatory, as all of them are the members of the committee—(KNO)