Govt issues guidelines for coaching centres, violators to face penalties up to Rs 1 lakh

Enrollment is restricted to students above the age of 16, and admission is permitted only after the successful completion of secondary school examinations.
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The Ministry of Education has issued guidelines for regulation of coaching centers. An official said on Thursday, January 18, that the guidelines prioritise students' mental wellness, fair practices, and inclusivity. If any coaching centre breaches the guidelines, it can be fined up to Rs 1 lakh.

The guidelines address issues from reasonable fees to inclusive policies and stress the need for state and Union Territory governments to regulate the coaching centres. It also proposes a model framework for coaching centers and outlines the procedures for registration, renewal, and cancellation of coaching centre certificates, along with an appeal process.

The Education Ministry has also issued a notice in this regard. "The issues related to the private coaching centres, more so in the context of rising student suicides cases, fire incidents, lack of facilities as well as methodologies of teaching have been drawing the attention of the government from time to time. The number of unregulated private coaching centres in the country continues to grow in the absence of any laid down policy or regulation. Instances of such centres charging exorbitant fees from students, undue stress on students resulting in students committing suicides, loss of precious lives due to fire and other accidents, and many other malpractices being adopted by these centres are widely reported in the media," the notice read.

According to the Education Ministry's guidelines, all coaching centres must apply for apt registrations. Enrollment is restricted to students above the age of 16, and admission is permitted only after the successful completion of secondary school examinations.

The guidelines say that tuition fees should be reasonable and a detailed receipt must be provided to the students. There should be a prospectus with detailed information about courses, duration, classes, tutorials, hostel facilities, fees, exit policies, and procedures for fee refunds.

There is a provision in the guidelines to create a mechanism to raise complaints against coaching centers. A competent authority or a government committee will resolve such complaints within a period of 30 days.

According to the guidelines, if any students seeks mid-course withdrawals, the coaching centre should arrange a pro-rata refund within 10 days. "Any fee increases during the course, including both course fees and hostel-related charges, will be strictly prohibited," one of the guidelines read.

Coaching centres will have to offer a comfortable infrastructure to the students and there is a provision to provide minimum of one square meter per student in each class. Coaching centres have been asked to comply with fire safety and building codes, including obtaining fire and building safety certificates, which will be mandatory. Coaching centres will also insure safe electrification, ventilation, lighting, CCTV cameras, first aid kit, and access to medical assistance, the guidelines stated.

If any coaching centre is found violating the terms and conditions in that case penalties will be imposed. For first offence, there is a provision of a penalty of Rs 25,000, for second-time offenders, it could go upto Rs 1 lakh, and also cancellation of the coaching centre's registration.

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