The education department has finally decided to enforce the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act and the decades-old Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act 1987 by appointing an imp
The education department has finally decided to enforce the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act and the decades-old Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act 1987 by appointing an implementing authority for the same.
According to officials, the absence of an implementing authority had given schools a free run, but this would end with the setting up of the committee that would start functioning in June. The Acts, one of which was enacted in 1987, have been ineffective due to the absence of an implementing authority.
According to Laxmikant Pande, joint director, Administration, Estimate and Planning, Commissionerate of Education, the laws enacted were strong enough to curb the commercialisation of education and exploitation of parents by the schools. “The Acts plug all the possible avenues for schools to charge and recover excess fees from students and their parents. As there was no implementing authority (of) the various clauses of the Acts, they remained ineffective. However, this will soon change as a committee that will be headed by a retired judge is being constituted as the implementing authority,” said Mr Pande.
The committee, he added, would be empowered to hear complaints and issue orders against errant schools as per the Act. The committee would direct the police and the local education inspector to take action.
The two Acts were aimed at curbing the recovery of huge amounts in the form of donations at the time of admission and the arbitrary increase of fees by school managements every year. As the Acts were not being implemented, parents were forced to go to court that directed the government to enforce the laws but the same remained partially fulfilled.
Welcoming the move, Jayant Jain, president of the Forum For Fairness in Education, said, “If it happens it will be a boon to aggrieved parents, and it put an end to the high-handedness of the schools. The Acts are restrictive, but in the absence of an implementing authority, schools were getting away with flouting the very clauses of the Act. In the past 30 years of the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act being enacted, only three cases have been registered, but now it will hopefully be different.”
However, Bharat Malik, member of Private Unaided Schools Managements Association (PUSMA) said that the committee would only lead to increase in corruption and take away the autonomy of the private schools. “While there may be a few elite schools that resort to exploitation, most of our budget schools that are not run for profit will be badly hit. It will lead to more litigation and increase in corruption,” Mr Malik said.