Mumbai: Parents will now have an opportunity to raise their concerns unilaterally about fee issues in all schools of the state. A proposal has been forwarded to the state government seeking to increase the number of parents in the Parent-Teacher Association, which will be allowed to oppose a fee hike by a simple majority.
Till date, PTA comprised of one parent and one teacher but now it is proposed to have two parents and one teacher from every class in all schools. Once that happens, parents will form a majority and can press for implementation of their suggestions and objections.
The move is afoot as the state education department had received a large number of complaints from parents, especially regarding fees. Vinod Tawde, State Education Minister for school and higher education, said, “By including more parents we want to empower them and increase their involvement. Parents should have a say in fee issues, facilities provided by schools and education imparted to their kids.” In addition, Tawde has asked schools to record proceedings of PTA meetings to keep a track of decisions and discussions to avoid confusion in future.
Schools can increase fees by 15 per cent in two years as per the existing rule. But now if parents are not happy with the fee hike they can approach the Fee Regulation Authority or the Divisional Fee Regulatory Committee. “If any school increases fees within the 15 per cent band but the PTA has concerns, then they can approach the FRA. And if any school breaches this 15 per cent benchmark, then parents can singlehandedly approach the concerned authorities,’’ Tawde added.
These proposals have shaped up in a series of meetings which were held by educationists, parents and teachers. “The aim is to prevent schools and educational institutes from looting parents. Initially, parents could not complain single-handedly and lacked a majority in the PTA. Now they can raise their voice and things can be resolved,” said Mohan Awate, an educationist.
The state government will amend the proposals and pass the final policy at January end, so that admissions for next academic year are streamlined.