March 13, 2018
8 days

The issue of steep hikes in the cost of education in private schools are a cause of concern nowadays. Discuss the challenges in regulating these institutions and suggest measures to improve the situation. (200 words)

Refer – The Hindu

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IAS Parliament 7 days


·        Regulating school fees is one of the most significant legal and political challenge policymakers in India face.

Challenges in regulation

·        Autonomy Vs Welfare – The issue of fee regulation finds itself at the intersection of two important ideas.

·        One, the constitutionally protected freedoms enjoyed by private schools.

·        Two, the need for making quality education affordable and accessible to all.

·        The managements of private schools claims that such hikes are reasonable and justified as the costs of maintaining a fully functional private school with quality teaching and world-class infrastructure are quite steep.

·        Misrepresenting accounts – Existing legislative efforts of various state models seem to have made an incomplete assessment and are affected by the challenges of weak implementation.

·        Evidently, the deeper problems are with financial management and accounting practices by private schools.

·        Money was being collected from parents under false heads, while at the same time, teachers were being underpaid, and accounts misrepresented.

·        Power of associations – Lack of capacity and constant legal challenges posed by private school associations are also one of the challenging factors that hinder regulation.

·        Clarity – The new wave of fee regulation laws in States has the potential to address the problems.

·        However, there is still a lack of jurisprudential clarity on what private schools can or cannot do.

·        How much “surplus” they can make, or what “commercialisation” actually means are poorly defined.

Way forward

·        The solution to make these laws more effective is to address the financial mismanagement and misreporting.

·        In Modern School v. Union of India (2004), the Supreme Court recommended accounting standards for private schools.

·        Further, measures such as the following could be considered - 

a)     regular government supervised audits

b)     generating capacity in State-level Departments of Education

c)      regular inspections

d)     stricter sanctions for fraudulent reporting