RTE quota: Private schools frown on fee circular

The private school managements are unhappy with a recent circular from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) that bars schools from collecting any fee towards uniforms or extracurricular activities from students admitted under 25 per cent quota prescribed by the Right to Education Act.

In a circular dated March 13, 2014, the Commissioner of Public Instruction has directed the schools to ensure a “transparent” fee collection process and display the details at the school so as to keep the parents informed. The circular reiterates that schools should not collect capitation fee.

The circular states that there had been complaints that schools were collecting fee for uniform and extracurricular activities from the students of economically weaker sections admitted under the RTE quota. Some schools have collected the fees promising parents that the money would be returned once the government reimbursed them. However, schools have not issued any receipt for the fee collected.

As per the provisions of the Act, these students should be allowed to participate in sports and extracurricular activities free of cost.

These students should not be compelled to take part in additional activities such as swimming. If at all the parents agree, fee can be collected for only one activity, the circular further added.

‘Unilateral directions’

Protesting the circular, the Karnataka Private Schools Joint Action Committee (KAPJAC) has argued that the directions cannot be unilateral.

KAPJAC State secretary D Shashi Kumar said not all schools were cheating students and because of a few, the others should not be punished.

“When it comes to notebooks and uniforms, some schools ask parents to buy them from a particular shop or allow the shop to sell them on the school premises.

In such cases, neither can the school include it as part of their expenditure and record in the book of receipts nor can it afford to give it away free to a section of students,” he said.

Kumar added that the association agreed with the government that schools which claim fee for uniforms under RTE reimbursement cannot collect the money for the same purpose from parents.

“We also agree that we should not force these children to take part in extracurricular activities. But providing them for free would be a burden on schools.”

School managements also felt that there was no clarity on these decisions.

Frequent transfer of top officials in the department made it only worse as each official comes up with a different direction, the members complained.

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