Srinagar: As admissions for the new academic session start, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has asked parents ‘not to pay any capitation charges’ or what is locally knows as admission fees, while admitting their kids in a private institution.
Despite the School Education Department’s notification, like every year, private schools across Kashmir have been demanding exorbitant sums from parents at the time of admission.
Asma Goni, Convener of the Parents Association of Privately Administered Schools (PAPAS) told Free Press Kashmir, “private schools are charging hefty amounts from the parents as admission fee. For this, they don’t even give fee receipts. It has been banned by the Supreme Court and is illegal,” Asma noted.
Section 13 of the Right To Education Act prohibits collection of capitation fee to be in violation of the RTE Act and also prescribes the penalty to be imposed on schools in case of violation.
Section 2(b) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act defines “capitation fees” as any donation or contribution or payment collected by the school other then the fee notified by the school at the time of admissions.
However, Asma says, they have received calls from many parents who have been asked to deposit the money in lakhs.
“Even admission forms are to be sold at Rs 1,000 and they don’t even set a limitation on the number of seats. Thousands of parents take admission forms and schools make a good profit out of it. Private schools are answerable to no one. Fee Fixation Committee is also lying defunct,” Asma said.
Authorities at the education department say they have taken a serious note of this and have asked parents to be vigilant and complain if any school will violate the RTE Act.
Dr. Younis Malik, Director School Education Kashmir told Free Press Kashmir, “we have received complaints regarding schools charging money at the time of admission. We have taken note of it and will take serious action against any violation of RTE Act.”
“After the selection list is made public by the school and asks parents of the selected children to deposit admission fee, they should immediately resist and register a complaint with us so that we will act accordingly. I appeal to parents to be vigilant about the issue. Don’t encourage any such action as it is your responsibility to put stop to it,” Malik noted.
He added that the Fee Fixation Committee will also come into power in coming days which will also be vigilant over these issues.
A source at the Education Department told Free Press Kashmir that the Right to Education Act was not applicable in Jamu and Kashmir, but, after the abrogation of Article 370, it is.
“Prime Minister of India after abrogation said in his speech that due the Article 370, JK students were not getting benefits from RTE. However, even after one year, there is no change.”
The sources added that RTE also talks about 25% reservation in admissions for underprivileged children “but no such thing is seen in the ground”.
“The file is already with the government and is pending for the approval,” he said.
Despite repeated attempts, G N Var, President, Private School Association JK was not available for comments.
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