SRINAGAR: With officials failing to set up the prescribed ‘special cells’ across districts to implement the orders of the Fee Fixation Committee (FFC), several private schools in the Valley are charging exorbitant fees “in violation of norms”, parents have alleged.
In November last year, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) had ordered the constitution of ‘Special Cells’ in the offices of all Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to implement the orders issued earlier by the FFC on fee regulation in private schools.
The DSEK had asked the cells, which were supposed to be headed by the respective CEOs, to monitor the implementation of FFC orders in the schools and submit monthly progress reports.
Last October, the FFC had, in the backdrop of the court’s orders, allowed schools a hike of up to a maximum eight percent in the tuition fee as was applicable in August 2014.
In an order issued Saturday, the DSEK has itself said that private schools were “not implementing the orders passed by the FFC, especially with regard to charging of fee as per the order of the FFC”.
“No Special Cell in the district has been constituted till date resulting into non-submission of monitoring report, as was required,” lamented the order.
The DSEK has directed the CEOs to “ensure the implementation of the order of FFC in letter and spirit and also get the complaint lodged against the private schools redressed…”
“The action taken may be shared with the FFC and DSEK on priority,” reads the order.
Several parents Kashmir Reader spoke to complained about leading private schools charging exorbitant fees “in violation of the FFC orders”.
While the FFC had allowed a hike in tuition fee not exceeding eight percent, Mudassir Ahmad from uptown Bagh-i-Mehtab said that a leading private school in Srinagar where his ward is studying has raised the fee “by 20 percent” from the current academic session. Mudassir said that the school had “exorbitantly” raised the transport fee of the students as well.
Mubashir, another parent from Srinagar whose ward is studying at a leading private school in the city outskirts, alleged that the institution was charging “double the fee as allowed by the FFC”.
Despite the FFC disallowing them from charging ‘annual fee’ from students, a leading private school in Baramulla district is still charging the same, Dr Abdul Qayoom, a parent from the North Kashmir district, alleged.
He said that the school had hiked the transport fee by “around 40 percent at once” this year.