The AP government fixed a uniform fee for both schools and colleges based on their locations.

School children listening to the classImage for representation- File photo/PTI
news Education Saturday, August 28, 2021 - 16:23

The Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission on Thursday, August 26, fixed a uniform fee structure for both private schools and colleges in the state. This fee structure would continue for three years (2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24). Announcing the decision, the Commission’s Chairperson Justice (Retd) R Kanta Rao said that the annual tuition fee for schools in gram panchayats has been fixed at Rs 10,000 for primary classes and Rs 12,000 for higher classes. In municipalities, the fee is fixed at Rs 11,000 and Rs 15,000; and in municipal corporations Rs 12,000 and Rs 18,000 respectively. Along with this, even the school transportation charges are capped at Re 1.60 paise per kilometer. This decision was taken after consultation with the parents and after visits to several schools in the last one year, the Commission said.

However, the private school associations have expressed their disappointment with the decision and have appealed to the government to reconsider their decision. Speaking to TNM, MV Ramachandra Reddy, President of Andhra Pradesh Private Unaided Schools Managements' Association (APPUSMA) said, “So far every school since 1982 had established a governing body and based on the infrastructure and facilities in the school, the fee have been determined by the body. But now the decision to fix a uniform fee across all schools regardless of the infrastructure and the facilities seems unreasonable. Each school will have different facilities; some may even lack the basic facility like a playground. Some schools are constructed within an acre and some with a sprawling space of five acres. So how is it fair to treat everyone the same?”

Reddy said that they had already protested against the fixed slab on the fees when the Commission was making consultations. “We had already expressed our displeasure and had submitted letters to the Commission. We wanted them to postpone the decision at least until the COVID-19 pandemic was over as it has caused severe financial hardship for institutions to survive; so we yet again want to reiterate that the government should reconsider its decision.”

The APPUSMA President said that the decision will impact the quality of education as the institutions cannot afford well-qualified teachers offering them a low salary. “Besides this, even the cap on school transportation is very unfair. With the government fixed rate, no school can afford to run these facilities,” Reddy lamented. 

Murali Mohan Venigalla, Secretary of Vijayawada Childrens’ Schools and Tutorials’ Association also expressed the same opinion. “Budget schools are content with the government’s slab on tuition fee, but it is unfair to fix a ceiling on transportation. Charging just Re 1.60 paise per kilometer is not possible. We cannot sustain these rates. We have to just drop these services if it has to go this way,” Murali said.

Reddy said, “What is worrying is that the fee structure would remain the same for three years. The teachers should be given a hike every year, and without the fee structure changing, how is it going to be possible?

Similar to the school tuition fee, the fee for colleges was also fixed. As per the Commission, a fee of Rs 15,000 per annum has been fixed for science groups (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry; and Biology Physics and Chemistry), and Rs 12,000 for non-science or non-maths groups such as Civics, Economics and Commerce (CEC), History, Economics and Commerce (HEC) and others for junior colleges located in gram panchayats. For colleges located in municipalities, the maximum fee has been fixed at Rs 17,500 per annum for science groups and Rs 15,000 for non-science groups. Likewise, for junior colleges located in municipal corporations, the maximum fee has been determined at Rs 20,000 per annum for science groups and Rs 18,000 for non-science groups. 

The Commission warned of action against educational institutions which violate the order. A grievance number - 9150381111 - was shared by the Commission to register complaints against institutions which are charging beyond the prescribed ceiling. 

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