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03 Mar 2024, Edition - 3155, Sunday

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Coimbatore

School `capitation’ fees go unbridled

Mohamed Hamza

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Education, right from the nursery class, is turning to be a very costly affair. And this starts right from admission to a nursery class where parents will have to dole out anything like Rs 1 lakh or even more in the form of `capitation’ fee or otherwise called donation.

This is besides the huge amount that awaits them over the academic year in the form of fees under different heads.

“Donations from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh is common in many of the city schools,” said R Manimohan, Chairman of the city-based Students Welfare Association of Parents (SWAP). These are collected under various heads like ‘building fee’, ‘infrastructure fee’ and the names can be many.

These are collected during the time of admission to nursery or even pre-kindergarten classes.

Apart from this, managements collect money when students are promoted to higher classes. They say that amount is refundable which rarely happens after the students leave the school, Manimohan says. Collecting capitation fees under any pretext is clearly against the law. The Tamil Nadu Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation) Act 1992, does not allow schools from taking any sort of capitation fees for admissions.

Similarly, private schools are supposed to charge only that amount as fixed by the Tamil Nadu Fee Determination Committee.

“All the institutions which collect capitation fees and charge excess amounts are violating these laws,” said Prince Gajendra Babu P B, General Secretary of Common Platform for School System.

Interestingly, some of the school managements associations demand stringent action against schools charging exorbitant amounts. Maya Devi Shankar, State President of All Private Schools Welfare Association (APSWA), a grouping of school owners, says the government should initiate strict against such institutions. “There are a few particular schools who charge such excess amounts. The Government should initiate strict action against them,” she said.

On what makes parents pay such huge amounts, Manimohan says: “The infrastructure and the hygienic environment attract parents to these private schools.” Except a few, most of the government schools in the city are found wanting these facilities. If they are addressed, many parents will send their children to those schools, he adds.

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