Chennai

‘Schools can’t threaten to shut down’

The Director of Matriculation Schools S. Kannappan on Saturday made it clear that no school management could coerce parents into paying capitation fee by issuing “bare threats”.

The circular comes against the backdrop of a private school in Chennai threatening to shut down the institution if parents did not pay ₹2 lakh as caution deposit which has since been withdrawn.

In a circular issued to all Chief Educational Officers (CEO), Mr. Kannappan said bare threats by school managements declaring the closure of schools in a bid to extort capitation fee from parents are “meaningless” and parents should not be worried. “Any attempt by educational agencies to extort money from parents should be thwarted,” the circular said while instructing CEOs to keep an eye on the activities of such institutions and ensure that they abide by the regulations.

“CEOs are requested to apprise educational agencies that it is not that easy to close a private school because all the schools are run by societies or trusts governed by acts/rules. It involves a cumbersome process and a lot of preparatory work which an educational agency has a charitable society or trust has to do to effect closure,” the circular read.

Citing provisions of the Tamil Nadu Private Schools (Regulations) Act, 1973, the official pointed out that the government is empowered to intervene to prevent schools from exploiting parents. As per these regulations, “No private school and no class and no course of instruction in a private school shall be closed without obtaining the prior approval of the competent authority…” Before closing down a school, the management would be required to make arrangements for the students to complete their education.

The regulations also provide protection to beneficiaries of schools – which include parents and students – against any unfair activities such as demanding capitation fee apart from the tuition fee as well.

As for CBSE schools, the Affiliation Bylaws contemplates that the society / trust should ensure that the school shall run as a community service and not as a business.

This circular comes on the heels of a communication from the Director of Matriculation Schools earlier this week warning private schools, including CBSE and ICSE schools, against collection of excess fees.

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/schools-cant-threaten-to-shut-down/article24543665.ece

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