Good news is in the offing for all those parents who complain of undue fee hike by private schools. For, the Chandigarh Administration has sent a proposal to the Central government seeking sanction to set up a “Regulatory Commission”. Not only the body will regulate hike in fees of private, including minority, schools, but will also regulate prices fixed by private publishers in respect of NCERT books.
A detailed proposal was sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development in this regard a fortnight back. This was conveyed by the Chandigarh Administration to the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) on Friday.
The administration has noted that the Punjab Education Code deprives the administration of setting up such a regulatory body. As a result, the administration has sought “separate legislation”.
In an affidavit, the Chandigarh Administration on Friday submitted that “it was found that regulatory body can be established either by appropriate amendments in the School Education Act or by making a separate legislation or by administrative orders issued under the existing provisions”.
It reads that “there is no provision in the Punjab Education Code to establish regulatory mechanism. The Delhi School Education Act is not extended to Chandigarh and Chandigarh has no legislature of its own to establish such regulatory body. Therefore, the matter now has been sent for approval from the competent authority of Central government”.
In the proposal “to set up regulatory mechanism for recognised schools”, the administration has submitted that the regulatory mechanism will perform three functions. Firstly, “to prescribe only NCERT textbooks for private schools and to regulate the prices fixed by the private publishers in respect of such books”.
Secondly, “to ensure that any increase in the fees undertaken by a particular school is justified and necessitated by other circumstances such as increase in expenditure or because of developmental activities and further to keep a check that such funds are not being diverted elsewhere”.
Thirdly, “the proposed legislation will define the constitution of regulatory authority comprising the chairperson and members, its functions, powers and other related administrative issues”.
In another significant proposal, the administration has asked the Central government for extending the limits of “neighbourhood” area as prescribed under the Right to Education Act.
A proposal to extend the limits of neighbourhood for the purpose of filling up the requisite percentage of seats for children was prepared by the Education Department. For classes up