Assam initiates steps to regulate private school fee

The much delayed move to regularize  private school fee has taken off as the State government has  finally moved a proposal to constitute a committee to regulate the fee structure in private educational institutions.

The Fee Regulatory Committee – that will comprise at least five members – will be headed by a chairperson who would either be a retired district judge or a senior civil servant or senior police officer. The panel will also have a chartered accountant, a civil engineer, a representative from a non-government educational institution and an academician. Their term will be for three years. The first Fee Regulatory Committee is likely to be notified in a few days.

School bags

The move to form the panel comes more than a year after the government passed The Assam Non-Government Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fees) Act, which envisages formation of the committee. Officials blamed laxity on the part of the directorate staff for the delay in constitution of the panel.

While determining the fee to be payable by the students in non-government institutions, the committee will have the power to examine the fee structure of a school along with all relevant documents and books of accounts for scrutiny.

“The panel will verify if the fee proposed by the non-government educational institution is justified or whether it amounts to profiteering or charging exorbitant fee. After examining the existing fee structure, it will either approve the existing fee or determine the fee which can be charged from students by a non-government institution,” The Education Department official said.

The committee will also have the power to hear complaints (including suo motu) regarding collection of excess fee by a private institution. It can also initiate penal action against private schools.

The maximum fee limit an institution can charge will be determined at the beginning of every academic session, according to the Act. The committee will take into account various factors, like location of the school, investment incurred to set it up, infrastructure made available in the institution, expenditure on administration and maintenance, strength of students, qualification of teaching staff, expenditure incurred on students, etc.

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