Punjab Education

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Rupee Reuters3Jalandhar, April 19, 2014–

Despite the Supreme Court order prohibiting commercialisation of education, exorbitant fee being charged by private schools is breaking the backbone of the middle class families who wish to provide quality education to their children.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) does not have a fixed fee structure for private-affiliated or self-financed affiliated schools, a board reply to a city-based RTI activist Raj Kumar has revealed.

"Some private schools affiliated to the CBSE do not adhere to the SC norms," he claimed.

In the reply sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Kumar said, the CBSE cited a clause from the bylaws that the fee charged should be commensurate with the facilities being provided by the institution. The clause said, "Fees should normally be charged under the heads prescribed by the department of education of the state for schools of different categories."

The RTI activist added that the state government has no education act in place, which was disclosed in a high court judgment following a civil writ petition.In the district, 86 schools affiliated to the CBSE are charging admission fees ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 and are taking security deposit from 1,500 to 8,000.

"Besides exorbitant admission fee, all private schools charge huge amount as security deposit, which is refunded after the child leaves the school. However, they get to keep the interest money," he said, adding that there is no fixed rule on the fee structure.

Moreover, nearly 50% schools of the city have not yet updated their websites with the fee structure despite the guidelines issued by the CBSE.

Kumar added that there should also be a regulatory system in place to check fee being charged for transportation purpose by schools. Anil Kumar, a parent of a six-year-old child, said, "The state government or district transport office has not fixed transportation fees due to which the schools charge arbitrarily for transportation."

'COURT HAS APPOINTED COMMITTEES: BOARD'
RJ Khanderao, regional officer, CBSE, said according to the CBSE affiliation bylaws, the schools could charge the admission fees as per the standard of infrastructure they provide. "The Punjab and Haryana high court has appointed committees, one each for Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, to look into the accounts of the schools and find out the reasonableness of increase in fees by schools and work on the fee structure policies."

*HT Media Ltd.

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