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FFRC asks pvt school to refund admission fee

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Srinagar August 12: The fee regulatory authority for private schools in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday directed a private school to refund Rs 50,000 charged as admission fees from students within the next 15 days.

Fee Fixation Regulation Committee (FFRC) chairperson justice (retd.)  Muzaffar Hussain Attar in a 15- page order issued the direction to the Foundation World School, Humhama, Budgam.

The Committee for Fixation & Regulation of Fee of Private Schools (FFRC) today held the Foundation World School Humhama responsible for “defrauding” the parents by hiking the tuition fee and charging the admission costs under the grab of a same order.

The Committee directed the school authorities to return and refund to parents the admission fee received @ Rs.50, 000 within 15 days and submit compliance report.

The direction was issued after some parents complained that the Foundation World School, claiming affiliation with Cambridge Assessment International Education, had charged from them the admission fee in violation of the government orders.

Chairman FFRC Justice (retd.) Muzaffar Hussain Attar after hearing the matter observed that the school management has prima facie defrauded the parents.

“On the one hand, it has hiked the fee by 6% by taking benefit of Order No.01-FFC of 2019 dated 28.01.2019, and on the other hand, in breach of the same order, has charged and collected Admission Fee from the students/parents,” he said in a detailed order.

The school management, according to the FFRC order, had received admission fee from the complainants on 13th of May, 2019 and justifies the action on the ground that it was received before October 31, 2019, the day J all the central laws came into force in J&K.

Interestingly, the school management started charging tuition fee at the rate of Rs 6300 with an increase of 6 percent, much earlier than the J&K Reorganization day taking advantage of the FFRC order No.01-FFC of 2019 dated 28.01.2019.

The order besides allowing the private schools to enhance their tuition fee at the rate of six percent made it categorical that the private schools in J&K shall not charge in any manner the admission fee.

The FRC substantiating its point also referred to the Supreme Court of India order which straightway prohibited charging of capitation fee which is akin to admission fee.

It said that the school management of the Foundation World School on the one hand hiked its fee structure by 6 percent in the academic session 2019-20 by relying upon the Order No.01-FFC of 2019 dated 28.01.2019, “but very conveniently and deliberately it has given a go by to Para  8 of the same order, which specifically restrained private educational institutions from charging admission fee.”

“The brilliant minds of the Foundation World School management have thus deprived the parents of the children studying in their school of their hard-earned money by both the hands,” it observed.

The management according to the FFRC chairman was bound by order No.01-FFC of 2019 dated 28.01.2019 and had no authority to charge and collect admission fee from the students/parents in the academic session 2019-20.

“The school management, which was bound by Order No.01-FFC of 2019 dated 28.01.2019, of which it has derived benefit also by hiking the tuition fee by 6 percent, has in cruel disregard thereof charged and collected admission fee. This action of the school management is illegal and unauthorized,” the order said.

“Charging and collection of admission fee becomes fountain-head of commercialization of education, in as much as, the school management, when it asks for admission fee, literally puts the price tag on the school seat and sells the same to a parent,” the FFRC chairman added.

The current order was secured after many complaints from parents who had contended that the school had charged them an amount of Rs 50,000 as admission fee in May 2019, in violation of directives of the FFRC, Directorate of School Education Kashmir, and the Supreme Court orders.

The FFRC had in March this year ordered a 50 percent reduction in the monthly fee of the Foundation World School and the Birla Open Minds school.

The schools have challenged that order before the high court.

Earlier this month, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) of Budgam had served a notice to the Foundation World School over “unauthorised teaching of classes 6 to 9” at the institution.

The official had pointed out that the school was “provisionally granted registration in 2019 to run classes up to Class 5 only for a period of five years”.

But during a spot visit by Education department officers, the notice said, it was found that the school was “functioning up to Class 9 in gross violation of norms without any permission or registration”.

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