Bringing relief to parents beset by frequent and arbitrary increases in school fees, a government commission is likely to suggest a 10% yearly cap on the fee hike permissible by private, unaided schools, with provisions for penalties in case of violations, two officials familiar with the development said.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) , a statutory body, is in the process of making a recommendation to that effect to the human resource development (HRD) ministry, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
Although fixing school fees is the domain of state governments, in the absence of a standard fee policy for unaided schools, there has been a growing clamour for central regulations.
India has 3,50,000 private, unaided schools — 24% of all schools — where 75 million children, or 38% of all students, study. Such schools do not receive any grant from the government and have to generate their own revenue for sustenance.
Many cities across India have of late seen parents protest arbitrary fee hikes by such schools. In Delhi and Mumbai, for instance, the fee hike in private, unaided schools in last year varied between 10 % and 40 %.
Inundated with complaints from parents, NCPCR, the country's apex child rights body, has drafted regulations to put in place a uniform fee framework for unaided private schools. It will propose setting up a district fee regulatory authority in states to monitor school fee increases.
The draft regulations will also suggest a formula for determining fees, based on a school's location, costs incurred, revenue earned, student strength, and other parameters. "We will send the draft regulation to HRD ministry shortly for action," said a senior NCPCR official.
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