Despite incessantly complaining about exorbitant capitation fees charged by the schools, neither the education department nor the parents seem to be in a hurry to file a first information report against them, revealed an RTI inquiry.
Despite incessantly complaining about exorbitant capitation fees charged by the schools, neither the education department nor the parents seem to be in a hurry to file a first information report (FIR) against them, revealed an RTI inquiry.
While several schools continue to charge capitation fees, the education department claimed in the RTI that they have no record of any parent’s complaints against such fees since 1987.
The RTI application was filed by Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education, in November to check the number of instances where the education department has taken action against schools charging capitation fees under the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act of 1987.
Surprisingly, the RTI revealed that not a single parent has registered a formal complaint against schools charging capitation fees with the education department in Charni Road.
“Ever since the Act came into effect in 1987, we have not had any complaints against schools charging capitation fees,” said Sunil Chavan, deputy director of education.
Though several instances of schools charging capitation fees have been reported in the media, Jain says that schools get away with it as they call such fees ‘activity fees’.
“According to the 1987 Act, capitation fees are any amount charged over the prescribed fee amount. Schools are charging nearly Rs1,800 as computer fees, Rs100 as ‘fines’, etc. But all of these are capitation fees, and therefore, illegal,” he said.
According to Jain, even though parents are keen to file FIRs against schools, police refuse to register them. For instance, in the case of St Xavier’s School, Nerul, parents had complained of high ‘activity fees’ charged by the school but the police refused to file an FIR.
The parents got a high court order asking police to file an FIR against the school this year. Despite the order, police only filed a complaint. “Therefore, we need the education department to intervene and take action,” he added.
He said that the Act authorises the education department to file complaints against the school and they can sentence the accused schools up to three years of imprisonment or a penalty of Rs5,000. “But the department has never used its power.”