Majid Kapra

Schools ‘forcing’ parents to buy books & uniforms from specific shops will face action: Director Education

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Private schools asked to refrain from unilateral fee hikes

Srinagar: The School Education Department (SED) on Monday assured action against the private schools for forcing parents to purchase textbooks and uniforms for kids from specific shops.

Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Tasaduq Hussain Mir, while speaking to media persons on the sidelines of a function at GGHSS, Kothibagh, said the department will initiate action against private schools that keep their textbooks available at specific shops.

“If any parent has any specific complaint he should come forward and register his grievance with the concerned CEO or with the Directorate. Action will be taken as per law against the erring schools,” Mir said.

The assurance comes in the wake of complaints of unfair trade practices of private schools in nexus with the book-sellers.

Parents complain that they were being coerced into buying textbooks and uniforms from specific shops.

With the commencement of a new academic session, most of the private schools functioning in the city have kept textbooks for schoolchildren available at specific bookshops.

Such practices continue despite the circular instructions issued by the School Education department to the private schools directing them to refrain from keeping textbooks and uniforms of students available at specific shops.

The aggrieved parents have been left in a quandary as the department has failed to control this restrictive and unfair trade practice.

Meanwhile, the Director said the government has already directed the private schools to prescribe JKBOSE-published textbooks to the students from class 6th onwards and any violation of that will be dealt with strictly.

“There are clear directions to private schools to adopt JKBOSE books. We will ensure that there is no violation of government norms,” Mir said.

Meanwhile on the ‘arbitrary’ fee hike by some private schools, the Joint Director (Central and north Kashmir districts) has warned private schools of strict action for a unilateral hike in tuition fees and other charges collected from the parents under different heads.

As per the circular instructions issued by the Joint Director, the private schools have been warned to refrain from giving a unilateral hike in fees and remain careful in the future, while going for a revision or hike in fees.

“Parents of students studying in private schools of Central and North Kashmir districts are openly coming in social media, print, and electronic media to express their anger and grievances with regard to overcharging of various fees like Admission fee, tuition fee and Bus fees collected by the private institutions from the students in brazen violation of rules and regulations and cannons prescribed by the (FFRC) Fee Fixation Review Committee established by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir UT,” reads a circular in this regard.

The department said that the move has been viewed “very seriously” by the higher authorities and the stakeholders.

“The department has observed that the private school managements have become so arrogant that they withhold the results of the students who don’t pay advance fees for the current month which is yet to finish.

“They don’t bother or feel it necessary to consult the parent body, working committee, or any official machinery to get the hike of charges examined, discussed, justified, and finally accepted by one and all,” the circular reads.

The private schools have been asked to consult the Chief Education Officers or Zonal Education Officers concerned and the parents’ bodies of schools and move a proposal for any such hike.

“This will streamline the menace of overcharging of fees, exorbitant admission fees as per standard of the school. Such fees should be collected as per the facilities provided by the school, quality of education, transport facilities, playground,” the circular reads.

The Joint Director has issued instructions to all the Chief Education Officers and Zonal Education Officers of all the six districts including Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Bandipora, and Kupwara to mobilize and re-activate their institutions.

“Make surprise visits to your school jurisdictions and take cognizance of complaints received on this behalf and take strong notice of violations to curb this menace with the iron hard and restore confidence and faith of the general public, parents, and students in the law of the land and law enforcing agencies,” the circular reads.

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