In a stern message to the city-based private educational institutions, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said a “self-regulatory commission” would be formed to monitor and decide fees and donations collected from students. She announced this at a meeting with representatives of a number of private educational institutions in the city.
“We don’t want to interfere with the affairs of the institutions, but we want a system in place. A particular school charged Rs 2.47 lakh for admission,” she said wondering how common people can afford to spend such a huge amount.
“Why do you need such a huge amount for admitting students? I have called you for a meeting so that you can take steps in this regard. I have received a lot of complaints. Money is being taken in the name of fees, session fees,re-admission fees, computer fees, compulsory purchase of uniform, transportation fees. Even some fees were taken in the name of summer camp when the schools are closed,” she said.
She exhorted the institutions to create a section on their respective websites where people could register their grievances.
“Government institutions have a method of assessing fees. Not all families have the same financial means. In the name of donation, a racket is going on. It maybe just 0.1 per cent, but it matters because these are important educational institutions,” she said.
She said a self-regulatory commission would be constituted with representatives of various educational institutions, education secretary, state DGP and Kolkata police commissioner. Representatives from the Darjeeling hills and officials from the districts will be ex-officio member of the commission.
She said that a 10-15 per cent increase in fees is not acceptable while other expenses have to be controlled. Bengali should be taught in schools, the chief minister said, adding “you can teach English and Hindi, but at least teach Bengali as a third language”.
Today’s development followed Banerjee’s warning last February against over-charging of patients by private hospitals and negligence in treatment, announcing the setting-up of a regulatory commission to monitor their functioning.