The crucial, School Fee Fixation Committee (SFFC), constituted by the J&K government has been rendered headless from the past month as the term of existing Chairman expired in July this year.
Since then the government has forgotten to reconstitute the committee or extend the term of the existing committee.
Notably, the committee was constituted by the government in 2015 to regulate fee structure of the private schools.
A top source in the department said the Private School Association (PSA) of Kashmir are taking advantage of the development and have approached the government with a demand to allow them to give hike in the fee structure of the schools.
“As there is no committee for inspection of records the schools are trying hard to get the permission granted from government to increase the fee structure of schools,” the official said.
He said the private school representatives are convincing the department to allow them announce a hike in their present fee structure as they were not allowed by SFFC to announce any fee hike in past two years.
“Private school association is trying to sideline SFFC citing the committee has not been able to resolve the issues regarding fee regulation of private schools,” the officer said.
Interestingly, most of the private schools across Kashmir have issued admission notification for kindergarten classes.
“While there is no supervision from the committee, schools can charge arbitrary fee and donation from parents,” the official said.
Importantly, the J&K High Court in 2015 directed the owners of private educational institutes not to increase tuition fee charged from the students.
The court directions were issued after the schools were charging tuition fee from students for September and October months of 2014, when floods hit Kashmir and educational institutes remained closed.
“JK High Court has also directed the private schools not to charge fee from the students more than what was being collected as in August, 2014. Thus the private schools cannot demand more money from the students than what was being collected as in Aug, 2014,” the official said while referring to the High Court notice.
Also, minister for education Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari in May this year hinted for reconstitution of fee fixation committee citing that committee failed to release its report in past two years “which is injustice with the private schools.”
“If SFFC is not in position to give its report in two years, it is injustice with the schools,” the minister had said.
Secretary, School Education Department, Farooq Ahmad Shah said the committee will be reconstituted in near future.
“Government will either extend the term or it will be reconstituted,” he said.