Saturday, March 30, 2013

Child rights panel wades into school fee row in Tamil Nadu

Child rights panel wades into school fee row in Tamil Nadu

M Ramya, TNN Jun 30, 2012, 03.23AM IST

CHENNAI: Tired of the standoffs between school managements and parents on the fee issue in the state, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has decided to take the matter into its hands. NCPCR state representative for overseeing the implementation of the Right to Education Act, Henri Tiphagne has invited complaints of government and aided schools collecting fees and of private schools collecting excess fees.
"People are caught between the government's directive and what schools ask them to do. We want to send out the message to the government that if you really want to stand by the citizens then stand by them," he said.

He quoted the example of a school in Madurai that allegedly forces children, whose parents pay the government-prescribed fee, to go home at 2.30 pm, while keeping back the others till 5.30pm for special class. "Isn't this discrimination? Why should parents and children have to put up with this?" he said.
Though the RTE Act came into practice two years ago, there have been gross violations in government and aided schools over fees, he said. "Private self-financing schools in the practice of collecting fees in excess of that prescribed by the fee determination committee under Justice Singaravelu can be charged under the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code for misleading the government and government officials," Tiphagne said. He said a way out could be for the fee committee to insist that all schools get their payments only through banks.

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