Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (APSERMC) Chairman Justice R Kanta Rao on Thursday said that the fee structure of schools and colleges should be notified at the state level.
"The collection of fees in schools and colleges had become a menace in Andhra Pradesh. The fee structure should be notified at the state level. That obligation is taking place in other states but has not been done in Andhra Pradesh for almost two decades. So the private colleges and schools are collecting exorbitant fees," Justice R Kanta Rao told ANI.
"When the state government had initiated the process for notification, it was challenged in the courts. In the last academic year, we have ordered for reducing the school fees by 30 per cent in the wake of the pandemic," Justice Rao said.
"The Supreme Court has suspended the Government Order (GO) due to technical reasons but gave directions that students should not be prevented from attending online or physical classes, their results should not be stopped etc. The verdict was in toto in favour of students," he added.
Rao further said that the state government has issued a circular in support of the SC directions fixing the fee structure. But some colleges have challenged circular in the high court. Keeping all aspects in mind, we fixed fees for schools and junior colleges at a reasonable level. Accordingly, a Government order was issued, if needed we will make amendments to the GO.
Those colleges which have already collected excessive fees are asked to adjust the amounts and refund the excessive amounts to the parents. "We appeal to the parents to ask the college managements to collect recommended fees only, or to complain to our Commission. We will inquire and take action," said Rao.
"Maximum schools and colleges expressed satisfaction with the fee structure we have recommended, only 10 to 20 per cent managements want an increase of fees. These restrictions on fees are applicable to CBSE schools also," said APSERMC Chairman.
Rao further added that "However, we are ready for amending the fee structure if the school or college management proves that their expenses are beyond the limits we prescribed. If the management can prove their requirement of a higher fee to a satisfactory level, we are ready to allow a higher fee structure. They have to make an application within 15 days from the date of GO. We will verify and give permission."
The Andhra Pradesh government has issued two GOs to fix fees for private schools and junior colleges. Accordingly, annual fees for admission into junior colleges range from Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000. And fees for schools range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 18,000.
All fees except hostel and transport are included in this limit of fees. There are caps on hostel fees and transport charges also. The government has fixed charges for coaching classes for NEET, IIT etc entrance exams too, based on recommendations of the commission.