Parents move against draft of UP fee-regulation bill
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Parents move against draft of UP fee-regulation bill

Members of All Noida School Parents' Association (ANSPA) held a press conference today to express their ire against the bill draft.

Parents move against draft of UP fee-regulation bill

Members of All Noida School Parents Association (ANSPA) held a press conference today to speak out against the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Self-Financed Independent Schools (Regulation of Fees) Bill, 2017, that favours schools over parents.

ANSPA president Yatendra Singh said, “We want some changes in the draft. We want the bill along the lines of the Gujarat bill, which has proposed an annual fee structure of Rs 15,000 for primary classes, Rs 25,000 for secondary ones and Rs 27,000 for higher-secondary classes. If a school wants to charge more than the specified limit, it will have to approach the committee for permission. But the UP counterpart lacks in these checks.”

The state department of secondary education, on December 8, released a draft of the proposed bill on its website. It immediately invited stiff opposition from parents in Noida and Ghaziabad, who say the 12-page document gives undue advantage to schools in determining school fees.

ANSPA also complained that the proposed bill makes no mention of the safety and security regulations demanded by the parents.

Here’s a list of changes demanded by ANSPA members:

1. Capping of fee hike —The government should set a cap for school-fee hike, and the zonal committee should determine whether or not the hike is justified.

2. Setting a limit on school fees: Like the Gujarat counterpart, the bill should set a limit on the annual fee.

3. Transparency in appointment of any parent-teacher association: According to the proposed bill, the president of any parent-teacher association of any school in the district can be nominated by the divisional commissioner (chairman of the committee) as a member of the zonal committee. Parents alleged that most of the heads of these associations are hand-in-glove with school administrations, and hence, inclined to favour schools over parents.

4. Updating school website — Number of teachers, appointment dates of teachers and their salaries to be updated on the website of the school.

5. Collection and utilisation of development charges: The schools can charge a maximum development fee of l5 per cent of the total charges collected from parents. But the bill further says that the development funds can also be utilised for setting up new branches of the school, or a new school under the same management. Parents are unwilling to pay for new branches, or new schools of the management.

ANSPA members said they will continue their protests if the UP government refused to accept their demands.

Before Uttar Pradesh, laws to regulate school fees have been enacted in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and Punjab. Other than that, several states have clauses in their education acts with respect to fee regulation.