Parents’ associations from across Maharashtra have demanded the government set a deadline to bring about urgent amendments to the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011. Parents’ associations submitted a list of more than 25 demands to the state constituted Fee Regulations Act Amendment Recommendations Committee at a meeting held on July 27.
Alleging the current Act is riddled with several anti-parent clauses and favours private school managements, parents have always maintained it needed amendments. Last amended in 2018, the Act was passed by the government in August 2019 despite parents’ disapproval. Parents who have opposed private schools charging fees during the lockdown, were further upset after the government set up five DFRCs for Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad districts on June 7.
With the current Act permitting parent bodies to challenge fee hikes only if more than 25 percent of the total parents’ body is against the increased fee, parents want the Divisional Fee Regulatory Committees (DFRCs) to accept online complaints by parents too.
The Fee Regulation Act allows private school managements to appeal to the DFRCs in case the tuition and other fees proposed by it are not approved by the Parent-Teacher Association executive committees (PTA-ECs). A recent government resolution (dated July 12) further insists parents grievances be heard only after parents pay up 50 percent of the school fees or part of the fee as per the equated monthly instalment plan set by the schools. The move was introduced to address growing complaints by DFRC officials about continued harassment by parents and persons unrelated to the students.
“How can the government ask us to pay 50 percent of the fees when the whole issue is that the fees proposed by the school management are not approved by the parents. We have been holding meetings and putting up our demands for the past two years but to no avail. So unless the government agrees to scrap the Act or introduce all the amendments we have suggested, the Act will continue to favour private school managements,” says Anubha Sahai, president of the Mumbai-based India-wide Parents Association who attended the meeting.
The state had constituted a committee of government officials under the chairmanship of joint secretary (school education), Imtiaz Kazi to study the administrative level difficulties in implementing the rules under the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011. Ironically, the committee which was set up three months back to recommend and submit its report within three months to address the fee-related standoff between parents and private school managements held its first meeting with parents yesterday.
Also read:News, States