On December 27, the Gujarat high court ruled that the law enacted by the state legislature to regulate fees levied by private schools is constitutionally valid. Rejecting 40 petitions filed by private schools including CBSE and minority schools challenging the law, a division bench upheld the Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017.
Under the Act, the prescribed annual tuition fees ceiling for primary, secondary and higher secondary schools is Rs.15,000, Rs.25,000 and Rs.27,000 respectively. Private schools which want to levy tuition fees beyond the prescribed limits, need to submit justification to zonal fee regulatory committees.
Tuition fees regulation Bill
Dinesh Sharma, the state’s deputy chief minister, introduced draft legislation titled the Uttar Pradesh Self-Financed Independent Schools (Regulation of fees) Bill, 2017 to regulate school tuition and other fees levied by private schools, in the legislative assembly on December 29.
Addressing the assembly, the minister said: “This will put an end to the arbitrary and often cruel manner in which private schools treat parents. All schools across all boards whose annual fee is above Rs.20,000 will be covered by the Bill. Schools violating the provisions of the Bill are liable to face a penalty of Rs.1-5 lakh, and de-recognition or have their registrations cancelled,” the minister said.
The proposed Bill is set to cover the state’s 83,385 private primary-secondary schools but excludes private pre-primaries.
Tata Motors-IIT BHU agreement
The country’s third largest automobiles manufacturer Tata Motors has signed a five-year partnership agreement with IIT-BHU, Varanasi to launch innovative programmes in education and research, said an official communique issued in Mumbai on December 7.
“Through this agreement, we intend to establish a multi-dimensional partnership with IIT-BHU which will help us retain our competitive edge and develop next-gen engineering skills, not only within the company but also within our academic partners,” said Gajendra Chandel, chief human resources officer of Tata Motors, speaking on the occasion.
“This partnership will enable joint research in specific areas which will feed into the future products of Tata Motors, as well as advanced training of students. At the end of the five-year programme, we will have a talent pool ahead of the curve, equipped with advanced knowledge,” said Prof. Rajeev Sangal, director of IIT (BHU)-Varanasi.
Assistant professor suspended
An assistant professor of a government college in Sanver was suspended under the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules for reportedly demanding a monetary bribe and sexual favours from a student to pass her in a subject in which she had failed, K.N. Chaturvedi, higher education additional director, informed the media in Indore on December 27.
According to the complainant, a second-year B.Com student, the assistant professor demanded Rs.10,000 to re-evaluate her answer script favourably, said Chaturvedi.
While a police case hasn’t been filed thus far, the anti-sexual harassment committee of the college is investigating the matter.
New community colleges initiative
The state government has made plans for establishing nine community colleges across Meghalaya, chief minister Mukul Sangma informed the press after a cabinet meeting in Shillong on December 21. “This is the best model to ensure that students in rural areas have access to community colleges in their own backyards. While the one-time capital expenditure for these colleges will aggregate Rs.50 crore, recurring expenditure will be Rs.53.11 crore,” said the chief minister.
The proposed community colleges comprise ground field (existing colleges which will receive a one-time investment of Rs.2 crore) and greenfield (newly promoted colleges which will receive Rs.10 crore each) categories.
Jammu & Kashmir
New undergrad colleges promise
The J&K government is all set to establish 16 new undergrad colleges and upgrade 400 schools statewide, education minister Altaf Bukhari said at a press conference in Jammu on December 20.
“Many remote areas including the world renowned tourist destination of Pahalgam and the border tehsil of R.S. Pura in Jammu, are in dire need of degree colleges. This plan is a response to their demand,” said the minister.
Though regretful of the continuing turmoil in the valley, the minister praised the efforts of the state’s teachers’ fraternity. “The state is indebted to our teachers who have remained committed to the cause of education, even in these difficult times,” he added.
Paromita Sengupta with bureau inputs