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FFRC directs Foundation World School to return admission fee

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The Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC) has directed a renowned private school to refund the admission fee to the parents.

Chairperson FFRC, Justice (Retired) Muzaffar Hussain Attar, in his order directed the Foundation World School, Humhama/Mammath, Budgam, to return the amount to a complainant Suhail Dar and all other parents from whom the admission fee has collected, within 15 days. The school has also been asked to submit the compliance report.

The FFRC said several parents had complained that the school had charged an amount of Rs. 50,000 as admission fee in May 2019 in violation of FFRC, Directorate of School Education Kashmir and Supreme Court orders.

Justice Attar cited a Supreme Court order where it had consistently prohibited charging of a capitation fee that was similar to the admission fee charged by the school.

In its order No.01-FFRC (FF) of 2021 dated 18.03.2021, the FFRC had ordered a 50 percent reduction in the monthly fee of the Foundation World School. However, as the school has challenged the order before the High Court of Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, the matter is sub-judice.

The Chairperson FFRC in the order stated that “charging and collection of admission fee becomes (the) fountainhead of commercialisation of education, in as much as, the school management, when it asks for admission fee, literally puts the price tag on the school seat and sells the same to a parent”.

“The educational institution which has to provide literacy and education to children rather begins with commercial activity than a noble one of providing literacy and education to children,” the order reads.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, Justice Attar stated, “Sub-section 20-E (1) prescribes that private schools shall not charge any fee from the students or guardians, except tuition fee, annual fee, transport fee and voluntary purpose fee such as; picnic, tour, excursion etc. completely voluntary in nature or any other fee as may be provided by the Committee after following the procedure prescribed”. “The proviso to Section 20-E provides that private schools shall not charge in any manner, any other fee including admission fee or any amount by whatever name called than the fee mentioned above.”

The FFRC said the provisions of Section 20 – A to J confers powers on the Committee to regulate and determine the fee in private schools. These provisions envisage as to what is to be done by the Committee and what purpose is to be achieved while exercising its powers, it said.

“In view of the aforesaid circumstances, the Principal/ Chairperson/ Vice-Chairperson/ Trustees of the Foundation World School, Humhama/ Mammath, Budgam, are directed to return and refund amount of Rs. 50,000 to complainant, Mr. Suhail Dar and all other parents from whom admission fee has been charged and collected within fifteen (15) days and submit compliance report,” the fee fixation committee ordered.

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