There is a dedicated body formed by the Government known as the Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC), which has been given the task of regulating the fee of private schools to ensure that there is no undue and continuous hike in the fee by the private schools. There have been numerous orders and directives issued by the FFRC, asking the schools not to resort to violations, despite that, the concerned section of the Directorate of School Education, Kashmir (DSEK) receives regular complaints from the parents nothing the violations. The FFRC, apart from several other directives, had also barred the schools from collecting the annual fee and a few other charges, but things remained unchanged and schools were seen charging the fee by giving it a different name. Who did they fool, the people, or the authorities?
The government, particularly the FFRC, was aware of the abuses but did little to put a stop to them. Even the DSEK was unable to keep such things under control, and in cases in which cognizance was taken, the accused schools received no punishment. We are not saying that schools should not raise their fees; they can, but they must follow a set procedure established by the FFRC, which states that the schools must submit a proposal for the same, and the regulatory body will make the final decision—as simple as that can be. However, because private school players in J&K, particularly in the Valley, are not acclimated to regulations, they find it difficult to follow the regulations.
The education sector could have played a significant role in ensuring equality on the ground by providing equal opportunities for rich and poor pupils, but this is not the case. There is a clear barrier that has resulted in the rich-poor divide. The authorities have a role to play here, which they must. While they are already observing the ground realities, the need of the hour is to crack down hard on violators and move beyond directives which just exist on paper. Because they are constrained by the rules, what most private schools are doing is immoral and illegal, and taking necessary action is the obligation of the government, which is long overdue and must not be delayed any further.
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