Five years on, government clueless why panel failed to draft private school fee structure

Present chairman says draft will become law

SRINAGAR: Except for overburdening the state exchequer, the government’s fee fixation panel has failed for nearly five years to establish the fee structure of private schools. The government too is clueless about why the committee was unsuccessful at setting up the fee structure draft.
Established in 2014 during the Omar Abdullah-led government, the committee was mandated to constitute the fee structure of private schools in Jammu and Kashmir. The first blow came months later when its maiden chairman, Justice (rtd) Bilal Nazki, called it quits as his ‘recommendations’ were being binned. For one-and-a-half years, the ‘non- seriousness’ of the government was so deep that the panel was abandoned. In 2015, the PDP-BJP government revived the committee with Justice (rtd) Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain as its chairman.
Two years later, the panel has been granted extension by the government instead of being held accountable for the previous two years. The government, however, is still clueless why the panel has failed to set up the school fee structure.
Secretary school education Farooq Shah, who is also a member of the committee, told Kashmir Reader that he does not know the reasons why the committee has been unable to draft a mechanism for private schools fee. But he added the panel would come up with the structure soon. According to Shah, the committee has to fix the fee structure of 7,000 schools across Jammu and Kashmir, and the government is mulling over establishing district fee panels which would submit their reports to the fee fixation committee led by Justice Imtiyaz.
“Now we are planning to constitute fee cells at the district levels which will study them as per given parameters. The same will report to the central committee. I am hopeful that within one year the committee will be able to deliver. All its recommendations will be considered,” Shah said.
For his part, Justice Imtiyaz, who will lead the panel for one more year, said he had to work from scratch as the previous fee panel of Justice Bilal had done no work, as he found when he took over in July 2015. Justice Imtiyaz said that from the first day of his taking office, the idea was to frame a draft a bill for the regulation of private schools.
“Any act of the government should be backed by a legislation, without which there is no permanent way of dealing with private schools. I am hopeful the draft on which I have worked for two years will now become a law which will finish all sorts of problems,” Justice Imtiyaz told Kashmir Reader.