In order to rationalize the uneven school fee hike in the state, the Delhi Government has planned to propose amendments to the existing Delhi School Education Act and Rules 1973. In the amendment draft bill there would be another component which would deal with the criteria for nursery admission in various schools and giving education director the powers to issue instructions. In the coming budget session which would start tentatively from mid-June, the recent amendments would be proposed in Delhi Assembly, challenging the 40 year old model of DSEAR.
The main focus of the amendments is to rationalize the unjust fee hike in various private schools around the state. This would be the very first policy initiative by the education department in the newly formed Delhi Government. The draft contains a provision for establishment of a committee which would be chaired by an additional director, the director being the appellate authority, and would look into the complaints registered against the fee hike and its structure by parents and other stakeholders. The government in drafting the amendment is drawing help from the Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan model which have successfully regulated the school fees in their respective states.
Though, the draft differs from the Tamil Nadu model in its composition of the fee committee. The fee committee in Tamil Nadu is headed by a retired judge and once the proposal for increase in the fees gets sanctioned, the schools cannot further raise the fees for the next three years.
According to an education activist who has seen the bill, “Unlike the TN Act there is no deadline that has been set for the committee to redress complaints in. They can take months and during that time the schools will continue to charge high fees. But on the brighter side, this internal committee won’t be toothless and will have the power of a civil court. There is also a provision for imprisonment for three to seven years if violations are proved.”