Private Schools in J&K Under Scrutiny for Alleged Violation of Fee Regulations
In a recent development, the Committee for Fixation & Regulation of Fee of Private Schools in Jammu and Kashmir (FFRC) has issued Circular No: 01/ FFRC of 2023, addressing concerns over the charging of admission fees by private schools in potential violation of established statutes.
The committee has received a flurry of complaints asserting that several private schools are not only collecting admission fees against regulations but are also allegedly accepting payments in cash without providing receipts, raising questions about transparency and accountability.
According to Section 20E (1) of the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Act 2002, amended over time, private schools are explicitly prohibited from charging any fee beyond tuition, annual, transport, and voluntary special purpose fees. These special purpose fees, such as those for picnics, tours, and excursions, must be entirely voluntary. Importantly, private schools are explicitly barred from charging admission fees or any other undisclosed fees.
In response to these allegations, the FFRC has issued a set of circular instructions directed at all private schools in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir:
1. Private schools are sternly instructed not to charge admission fees in violation of the established statute.
2. If a complaint is substantiated against a private school for charging admission fees, it will be deemed that the fee was collected from all students admitted, and legal actions will be initiated against the school management.
3. In cases where school managements deny charging admission fees, citing lack of receipts or other reasons, the matter will be referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a thorough investigation. If the investigative report is adverse, the school may face legal consequences, including de-recognition or dis-affiliation.
This development underscores the committee’s commitment to ensuring that private schools adhere to the prescribed regulations, providing a fair and transparent education environment for students and their guardians. The FFRC emphasizes the importance of strict compliance with the law to maintain the integrity of the education system in the region. The outcome of these measures will undoubtedly have significant implications for private schools found in violation of the stipulated regulations.