CBSE takes action after 89% citizens demand disclosure of school financials
• Action awaited on school fees regulator
- • 64% say their school has increased fees under other heads (outside tuition) by over 10% last year
- • 41% want that school fee increase should be linked to inflation
- • 81% want a regulatory body for school fee
- • 77% support an option based fee structure (Basic and Premium)
- • 73% say that schools with profit objectives should be set up as companies instead of trusts/societies
New Delhi: November 2, 2016 – The issue of school fees is a highly emotive issue as it deals with the future of not only children but also the future of the country. The normal rules of economy do not apply on school fees as consumers/parents have a very little flexibility to change or shift once they have chosen a particular school.
LocalCircles, a citizen engagement platform realized that the coming admissions and the rampant hike of fees by schools is a major cause for concern. The quantum of the hike is the first major concern as 64 % of the parents said they have witnessed a more than 10% hike in school fees (outside tuition fee head) in the country.
Therefore, LocalCircles asked parents what should be the fees hike which is affordable or what should it be linked to as in some schools the fee hike in different parts of the country has been as high as 40%. Around 41 % voted that the fees hike should be linked to inflation which is currently in the range of 6-7 % per annum. Another 20 % said that the hike should be capped at 10% per annum, while 15 % said it should be linked to hike in salary by the pay commission.
Another major issue in fees is that it is not an area which is regulated. Education bodies like CBSE can prescribe syllabus and teaching methodology but are not allowed to regulate fees directly. Though, some states have brought in regulation to restrict fees hike in schools especially in Delhi and some southern states. Which is why LocalCircles asked citizens should there be a regulator for fees in the country and an overwhelming 81 % demanded this reform.
Recently, CBSE has asked public opinion on dividing school fees into basic and premium and giving parents the option to choose one. There has been a fair bit of debate around this reform. LocalCircles asked parents about it and 77 % voted for this to be implemented.
In a related poll, LocalCircles had asked citizens about the need for disclosure of full school financials on website and 89% citizens had demanded that the same be implemented on priority. Responding to citizens’ demand from LocalCircles CBSE has also issued a notification on October 25th, 2016 making detailed expenditure and fees disclosures mandatory on school’s website by Nov 30, 2016.
LocalCircles hopes CBSE will also respond to the need for a fees regulator. And clear the way for organization wanting to set up for-profit schools. Moreover, school fees have to be linked to inflation and should not be raised in a random manner.
Action taken by CBSE through an order requiring schools to disclose detailed financials effective Nov 30, 2016
Some citizen inputs on what can be done by CBSE and MHRD to make school fee increase more reasonable and transparent:
- 1. The regulator should be responsible for preventing any undue fee hike by private schools
- 2. A part of their job should be to assess if the fees charged by a school is set at per infrastructure and services being provided
- 3. MHRD should also make suitable legislation to give authority to the regulator to close the schools which do not adhere to the guidelines issued by the regulator
- 4. A special anti-graft squad should be put together for schools