Bengaluru: In a bid to prevent private schools from collecting exorbitant fees so that education could be affordable to all, the Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait on Wednesday announced that the final rules for fee regulation in private schools will be published by January.
Speaking to reporters, the Minister said that the final rules were almost ready and would come into effect in the 2017-18 academic year. He said that schools which have already completed admissions and collected fees will be scrutinised and may be asked to refund excess money if the fee collected is more than what is allowed.
The draft rules with formulas to decide the fee for schools in different areas was made public in 2016 but ran into some trouble in the Court following which the State Government amended the Karnataka Education Act to make fee regulation possible.
Early admissions to be declared illegal
Meanwhile, the Education Department said that private schools which have begun the admission process for the academic year 2018-19 would be declared illegal and the Education Department has issued a stern warning to Private Schools in this regard.
Minister Tanveer Sait said that he had received complaints from the public about early admissions by some private schools and added that he has instructed the Department officials to initiate action against such private schools and to declare such admissions as illegal.
As per the Karnataka Education Act, schools are not allowed to start admissions for the next academic year until the calendar of events is released by the Department which is normally released at the end of April or the first week of May.
Tanveer Sait said that the fee draft was pending since many years as the matter was before the Court and added that the fee fixation notification would be issued before the coming Assembly polls which would be implemented from the next academic year (2017-18).
The fee at private schools would be fixed based on the expenditure of schools. While preparing the draft, Department officials had collected some sample audit reports of private schools of all levels.
Play Homes, Day Care Centres to come under Education Department
In a bid to ensure safety of children at Play Homes, Day Care and Baby Care Centres across the State, the Education Department has come out with regulations such as land requirement and compulsory registration of such centres.
Minister Sait said that as per the Child Safety Policy of Karnataka, Departments such as Home, Women and Child Development and Panchayat Raj, Social Welfare and Education, should work jointly to ensure safety of children and hence stringent measures to regulate Play Homes, Day Care Centres and other such centres are being regulated.
The move comes in the wake of increase in the number of child abuse cases. Earlier, only kids in the age group of 6 to 14 years were under the purview of the Department, but now it will cover children from the ages of zero to six also. The Minister said that if any such centres were found running without registration or not following the safety norms, action would be initiated against such centres and would be asked to close down. According to the rules, Pre-Schools or Baby Care centres must have a minimum of 1 sqmt per child and officials of the Education Department would visit all such centres for physical verification.