Despite Govt orders, schools charging hefty amounts as admission fee

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Sept 23: Despite clear-cut directions from the Government on not charging capitation or admission fee for fresh admissions taking place, scores of private schools, including some prestigious ones are charging hefty amounts from parents.
Scores of parents told Excelsior that they were told that they will have to deposit the amount after the selection list is out, while many have already deposited the amount.
As of now the admissions for the KG classes are on and Excelsior has learnt that there are many schools, most of them being prestigious, that are charging hefty amounts as admission fee from the parents and have even made many parents sign a declaration that they won’t make details of the admission public at any point.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Government had warned of stern action if any school resorts to violation of the order issued by the department on the capitation fee. The Government had also ordered the schools to refund such amount if collected after October 31, 2019.
Asma Goni, Convener of the Parents Association of Privately Administered Schools (PAPAS) told Excelsior that they have received several such complaints from the parents where they were asked to deposit the capitation fee in the shape of the annual fee.
“We have received complaints, mostly from the parents who are trying to admit their wards in renowned schools; they are charging from the capitation fee in the form of the annual fee which they cannot do,” she said, adding that the Government should issue a number on which the parents can report such violations.
Excelsior has also learned that there have been instances where the parents are not being given proper receipts of the money that they deposit.
An order in this regard was issued by the Principal Secretary, School Education Department on Friday stating that no school will charge capitation fee for the new admissions.
It added that “any such fee if already collected in violation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 from the date of its applicability i.e. October 31 of 2019 should be refunded with immediate effect. Otherwise action under section 13 of Act shall be initiated forthwith besides cancelling recognition of the said schools.”
Earlier, there was criticism that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 was not applicable in J&K and that there were all the chances for the schools to use the loophole. However, the order cleared that doubt too.
“Whereas by virtue of J&K Re-organization Act 2019 the right of children to free and compulsory education Act 2009 (Act) has been made applicable in J&K UT, the section 13 of Act imposes and embargo on charging of admission fee and provided for its punishment as well,” the order stated.
Officials at the School Education Department told Excelsior that the parents should take a lead and not pay any such fee. They also said that such violations must be brought into the notice of the concerned for action.