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Jun 3, 2009

Plea to regulate private schools

The Coimbatore Consumer Cause has appealed to the Chief Minister to initiate measures to regulate private schools to refrain them from collecting exorbitant fee and indulge in unethical practices.

Secretary of CCC, K. Kathirmathiyon in a memorandum pointed out that the private schools were resorting to fleecing the hapless parents by collecting exorbitant fee besides selling school uniforms, socks, notebooks, textbooks and stationery at prohibitively high costs.Recently, when there were complaints from the parents about the exorbitant school fees, the government had promised to look into the matter after the elections.

“We request the government to look into the matter and take an appropriate decision to safeguard the interest of the students and parents. As on date there was absolutely no mechanism to monitor the fee structure and the schools were collecting fee under different heads. The hapless parents are left with no other option but to pay the fee without even a murmur owing to fear of victimisation,” he said.The recommendations of the Chittibabu Committee, which was pending for several years, should be accepted by the government.

Classification

The CCC suggested that the matriculation schools should be classified into different categories based on the facilities and infrastructure and salaries paid to the teaching/non-teaching staff. The fees could be as per the category and area of the school (corporation, municipality or panchayat).The maximum fees that could be collected by the schools should be fixed by the government and no other fees, in any name or any form, should be collected.

It is a fact that except a few, most of the schools require the parents to buy notebooks and other stationery items only from their school. The original intention was that the school could directly purchase the notebooks and textbooks and could sell it at a cheaper rate since there were no middlemen.Actually it should be sold to the students at no profit - no loss basis. But in some of the cases, the notebooks supplied were costlier than the market price.

In many cases, the break-up details of rates of individual notes books were never provided. Further, even though the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) had to be printed on the books as per the Packaged Commodity Rules, most of the notes sold by the schools do not have MRP.Previously the costs of notebooks were much cheaper than the market price. Though the intention was appreciable some schools were totally misusing it.The Labour Department should be instructed to keep a watch over such practices, he said.

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