The Madras High Court on Wednesday slammed private schools in the state for promoting commercial coaching classes that prepare students for competitive exams such as IIT-JEE and NEET, by integrating their curriculum with the regular course material.
"Any private school will not engage private agencies on commercial terms or have any kind of tie-up with private agencies on commercial terms to conduct special coaching classes during school hours in the school premises," the HC ordered.
A circular issued in this regard also prohibited schools from compelling students to join coaching classes by schools and collecting fee in excess to that fixed by the Private School Fees Determination Committee.
"This is a welcome move. Several schools are taking lakhs of rupees as fees for NEET coaching. And they are forcing children to join the coaching. Some schools have even hiked the overall fees claiming that they are providing NEET coaching to students. This has become the new manner in which schools loot the common man," Nandhakumar, a member of the Parent Teacher Association for Matriculation Schools told TNM
Observing that the court has learnt that certain school have been integrating coaching material with their regular classes from Class 6 onwards, the High Court stated, "The instructors from such commercial institutions, who do not possess the professional teaching qualifications, are permitted to take classes during school hours. This has not only resulted in promoting commercial activities in the school premises but also in tampering with the course of instructions as prescribed by the respective board of examinations.
The HC also observed that such activities result in increasing the stress levels of students, who feel compelled to attend these classes by paying huge sums of money as coaching fee over and above the regular tuition fee in the schools.
It "also promotes unhealthy competition among private schools with motives of profiteering," the circular state.
As per the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulation) Act, 1973, the government is empowered with the right "to regulate the different stages of education and courses of instruction in private schools and sections 5 (2) (c) (iii) contemplates that the educational agency of every school shall abide by the course for which such school prepares, trains or guides its pupil for appearing at any examination conducted by, or under the authority of the government," the circular further observes.
Stating the rules such activities violate, the circular said that rule 9 (2) (J) of the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulation) Act, 1973, states that to grant recognition provide school premises are only ordinarily used to conduct the school, authorised exams or any other purposes permitted by the CEO.
Further, "permitting teachers, who do not possess the required qualification for teaching as profession, violates section 23 (1) of the said act," the circular read.
The HC also observed that violating the course of instruction prescribed by respective board of examination violates section 3 of the rule.
The circular also cautions schools against the collection of :fees in excess of tuition fees fixed or notified under the Tamil Nadu Schools Regulation of Collection of fee Act 2009