The Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state has cleared the Uttar Pradesh Self-Financed Independent Schools Fixation of Fees Ordinance 2018, that seeks to regulate the fee charged by private schools, something that had become a headache for parents across the states. The ordinance comes into effect from the current academic session and lays down certain norms aimed at bringing transparency in the procedure of fee collection.
While the norms bring about a sense of clarity on what a school can and cannot charge, the going may not be as easy for parents getting their wards admitted to a new school. For, the rules stipulate different fee norms for new students and different ones for those who finish their first year. As per the ordinance, the fee regulation norms give a free hand to schools to determine the fee irrespective of the student being admitted to any class/grade/level. It said that the rules of fee hike will only be applicable on fresh admission from the next academic session, practically giving schools a free hand to charge whatever they want.
As per the ordinance, there will be no cap on the admission fees that will be charged from new students by the school. The school shall be free to determine the fees that it shall charge from new students for any class/grade/level who are seeking fresh admission in particular academic year. But parents need to remember that the fees that the school will charge will be subject to the guidelines (if any) notified by the government.
On the other hand, in what should come as a reprieve for parents, the ordinance seeks to put a cap on the abrupt fee hikes by private schools. It states that schools can’t charge admission fee from parents every year. The admission fee will only be collected at the time of admission to the school. It says that no school can change the fee during an academic year without prior approval from the authority. Besides, it says that schools will have to issue a receipt for every fee and levy charged on students. It says that it will be the responsibility of schools to ensure no capitation fee is charged.
It asks schools to upload the statement of fee on website 60 days before the commencement of an academic year. Besides, schools will also have to specify how the fee will be collected monthly, quarterly or half-yearly, provided that no school seeks to pay the fee solely on an annual basis.
The fees charged from students will be classified according to the following components-
1. Possible Fee Components will include – Prospectus and Registration fees, Admission fees, Examination Fees and Composite Annual Fees.
2. Some optional fee components will also be a part of the payment. This will include – transport; boarding; mess or dining; excursions and other such similar activities.
3. Refundable charges- This will include the Security money/caution money that was charged at the time of admission.
Also, no change in school uniform will be allowed within five consecutive academic years. In case, a school decides to change the uniform, it will have to provide an appropriate justification. It also bars schools from asking students to purchase, books, shoes etc from a particular shop.
On fixation of the fee, it says that a recognised school can hike fee for existing students by itself for every class/grade/level. But it said that the hike should be equivalent to the average percentage of per capita increase of monthly salary of the teaching staff previous year. Also, the hike should not exceed the current rate of plus five percent of the fee charged from the student.