Who Should Set School Fees?

Maharashtra is the latest state to attempt to pass legislation that gives the State Government the power to set the fees of private unaided schools. In the past, many states decreed limits on the rate at which fees could be increased annually (Delhi – 10%), and/ or insisted that schools had to give details and explanation of their fees to the State Government. All this in addition to the fact that a school’s annual fee increase must have been approved by the Managing Committee, which includes parent representatives.

Is there any other area of private enterprise where citizens invest their own money, subjected to these kinds of draconian levels of interference? Can anyone really show any likely tangible benefits or gains in the quality of education/ availability and accessibility of high quality education in the country?

I meet plenty of returning NRI’s who vouch that in other countries if they sought a similar quality and standard of education for their child in the private sector, they would have needed to pay fees many multiples higher than what they are asked to pay in India. If you went to educators elsewhere and told them that the education we provide is available for well under US$200 per month, they would be amazed.

If, tomorrow, the government announced that they would decide what car manufacturers were allowed to charge for their cars, how long would it be before the public started to genuinely fear that the ‘price’ to be paid for these ‘cheap’ cars (loss of choice, variety, safety features, benefits and features beyond the basic shell, 4 wheels and an engine) was a price not worth paying?

Times of India – Pune Article

There is a vital debate that is needed, in which every person who cares about the future of Indian school education needs to raise their voice. What do we want, and how will we best arrive at it?

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One Response

  1. The fees charged by a school are directly related to the expenses incurred in running such an organization. This is no different from a sales price being set for a product, based on the costs involved in producing it, although it does not seem appropriate to compare the noble “education industry” with other industries. So, lets compare the education industry with another noble industry.. health care. I am not aware of the government taking such initiatives to control what private hospital’s should charge..

    As an NRI myself, I would have to agree with your point that education overseas is far more expensive, and the quality and level of education is not necessarily better than that of the system followed in India..

    I feel that the individuals or bodies involved in setting budgets for running schools should be the ones to decide the appropriate fee structure. Considering no two institutes can have exactly the same ratio of expenses to number of students (the two main factors that would determine the fee structure), it would be absurd to fix a fee, that would be common for all schools. If this were to happen, one could expect schools to fill the classrooms with even more students, in an effort to meet costs.. This would take the Indian Education system in only one direction.. Down.

    The only circumstance under which the government should be allowed to fix the fee structure, is if they are willing to give subsidies to schools to make up for any shortfall in revenue. This I don’t see happening.

    Any stumbling block that comes in the way of providing Future Generation Indians with the appropriate tools to forge ahead, should be strongly debated.

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