The district fees regulatory committee (DFRC) on Saturday imposed a hefty fine on three major schools in Gautam Buddh Nagar for abruptly increasing their academic fees.
While Apeejay School in Noida’s Sector 16A was fined Rs 5 lakh, Cambridge and Ryan International School were imposed a penalty of Rs 1 lakh each for violating the UP Self-Financed Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018.
The DFRC had received complaints against 14 private schools operating in Noida and Greater Noida over unjustified fee hike.
The order comes a month after DFRC had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Apeejay School in Sector 16A, Noida, for unjustified fee hike. BN Singh, chairman of DFRC and district magistrate, observed that the school management has disobeyed the order for a second consecutive time.
As per the act, if a complaint of fee hike is received against a particular school, the DFRC examines it.
While hearing the complaint against Apeejay School, the committee found it guilty. The school's decision of fee hike for the session 2019-2020 was not as per the act, which states that the management may hike only nine-and-a-half per cent of the previous year’s fee, observed the committee.
Singh said, "The school has been fined Rs 5 lakh for disobeying the order of the committee. We had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh a month ago after the school did not rollback the hiked fees."
“The committee has given the school 24 hours to comply with the order to avoid further stringent action," he added. He said that through the state government, it would write to the Central Board of Secondary Education to cancel the school’s affiliation.
The members of All Noida Schools Parents’ Association (ANSPA) celebrating the decision.
It also found Cambridge and Ryan International School defying the order. A fine of Rs 1 lakh against each school has been imposed with instruction to submit a compliance report with the committee.
Meanwhile, the complaints against Billabong High International in Sector 34, Kothari International, Khaitan International School, Delhi Public School (Greater Noida) and Modern Public School, which also increased fees for the current session, is still under hearing.
Singh said, "Administrations of all schools have been advised that they cannot force parents to purchase books or other stationery items from their referred outlets."
In the case of Kothari International School, the committee had received complaints of an exorbitant fee being charged for books. Singh said that the price of a book is Rs 70, but the shop within the school premises charged Rs 400 for the same book. He said, "All schools have been suggested to follow the act as forcing parents to purchase books from their outlets is against the act."
All Noida Schools Parents’ Association (ANSPA) celebrated the decision. Manoj Kataria, organizational secretary of ANSPA, said that the association welcomes the committee's decision as fee hike is a burden for all parents. “Many schools are increasing fees every year as per their wish and not according to the act, making the situation really difficult for the parents.”
K Arunachal, general secretary of the association, said that there are a total of 138 private schools in the district. “Today’s decision is an outcome of the efforts of all those parents who went against school’s decision of increasing the fee at their own wish. The association took the matter to the fee regulatory committee and we are happy with the results,” he said.