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Fee Hike Concerns in Kashmir as FFRC Remains Headless Amid School Reopening

Fee Fixation panel headless amid re-opening of schools

Srinagar, Mar 02: Amid the reopening of the schools, the Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC) continue to remain headless, raising concerns among the stakeholders about the issue of fee hike in private schools.

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), with the reopening of the schools in Valley, the private schools are likely to go ahead with the new admission process for the kindergarten classes wherein they collect hefty amounts as donation and annual charge from the parents.

The move has raised the concerns among the stakeholders over the government's intention to put a check on the private schools for collecting donation and annual fees from the parents, in violation of the set norms. 

The private schools are accused of collecting the capitation fees as per their own sweet will. Notably, the FFRC is headless after the tenure of its chairman Justice (Retd) Muzaffar Hussain Attar ended on November 13 last year. Justice Attar has served on the post since November 9, 2020. 

However, despite the passage of more than three months, there is no headway in the appointment of the Chairman for the FFRC which has left the parents at the receiving end. 

“The delay by the government to appoint the new chairman of the FFRC has put the parents at the receiving end as there is nobody to listen to our grievances. All the complaints registered with FFRC are gathering dust as there is no one to dispose of our complaints,” said a parent. 

The complaints have already started pouring in against some private educational institutions over some issues related to the hike in fees and collection of annual charges. Recently, the Private Schools Association Jammu and Kashmir issued a cap on fees while indirectly hinting about the 10 percent hike in the fees. 

The PSAJK has issued directions to all of its member schools to cap any fee hike at a maximum of 10 percent. The 10 percent hike has been decided till new directions of the FFRC which is currently headless. 

“How can any school hike the fees unless it is approved by the Chairman of the FFRC? No school has any right to take a decision regarding the fee hike. We will not allow any school to take any such decision till the directions are given by the fee panel,” said another parent. 

Meanwhile, the management of the private schools claimed that they cannot wait till the government appoints the new chairman of committee as the salary of the teachers and other staff of the schools have to be enhanced as per the policy matter of the schools. 

“If the government is serious about the issue then there should be o delay in the appointment of the new chairman of FFRC. Presently the committee is headless and it will not serve any purpose to submit the files for approval in the fee hike,” a school functionary said. 

A top official informed KNO that the government was in process of appointing a new Chairman for FFRC and the official order will be issued in near future. Amid the concerns raised by the parents and the private schools, all eyes are on the government to expedite the process and appoint a new chairman for the committee—(KNO)

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