After public outrage over frequent exorbitant increase in fees and other charges by certain private schools’ managements the state government is reportedly contemplating to bring a legislation to tame the private schools.
Though the state government has been talking of bringing the legislation as the Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institution Regulation Act -1997 does not cover the private schools and many managements of schools are allegedly charging fees and charges at their will but with rising public anger the state government seems to be under public pressure to bring a legislation.
Parents of students have formed associations to oppose the increase in school charges and holding protests at many places.
When all educational institutions throughout the country were closed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and online classes started many private schools have been pressuring the parents to pay fees and charges.
Keeping in view the economic problems faced by people the state government had directed the private school managements to charge only tuition fee only from the students attending online classes to pay the salary of teaching staff.
As many private schools did not follow the state government directions claiming there was no law in the state to regulate fees, Additional Chief Secretary Education had issued a notification under Disaster Management Act to cover all schools including affiliated with CBSE or ICSE boards.
Then Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj had said, “The state government could not bring the legislation as session of HP Assembly was adjourned mid way due to the pandemic and it would be enacted soon.”
With the start of classes there have been complaints regarding demand for annual and other charges by private school managements.
There are reports “Schools’ managements have been sending messages and making phone calls through class teachers and even threatening parents to strike names from the rolls and withhold results.”
Many private schools have been telling that they are not obliged to follow state government directions as they are not affiliated with HP Education Board.
CITU leader Vijender Mehra, who has been in the forefront to raise “alleged dictatorial” attitude of the private school managements says , “The state government has been delaying enactment of a legislation but private schools affiliated with CBSE or ICSE boards are permitted to run schools by the state government only.”
The people opposing the private school managements have held protests at many places and have been meeting Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. This issue has been discussed in the State Cabinet several times and the CM has directed all Deputy Commissioners to address complaints of parents.
Sources in the state government said, “The state government is seriously contemplating bringing a legislation to regulate fee and other charges in all private schools during the budget session of HP Assembly beginning February 26.”