Srinagar: Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) today termed the government decision to allow a meagre 6% fee hike annually as too late and too little. The Association also expressed its shock at the government decision to stop private schools from charging one time admission fee from students as the same will crush the private sector and hurt the growth of education sector in a big way.
The Association said that the 6% of fee hike is nothing when compared to the rise of prices in the market. “As per Govt order dated 2006 schools were enhancing fee by 10% annually. However in the backdrop of 2014 floods the then Govt revoked this order and assured us that a comprehensive education policy will be framed,” said G N Var, Chairman PSAJK. “We are still waiting for that policy. In 2017 Govt allowed us 8% fee hike annually however because of an ambiguous order from FFC (Fee Fixation Committee) the Association sought clear directions. Due to fall of Govt. it took time and now the Govt has allowed us 6% hike which is too less as we can’t meet the market inflation and can’t pay 10% salary hike to our staff.”
The Association said that the FFC should have followed all India model, wherein 8-15 % fee hike is allowed. “We want Govt to allow us charge 10% annually as per Govt order of 2006 and also one time admission fee as is the norm,” said Var.
The Association said that the education sector has become highly competitive and schools have to compete at global levels. “From smart class rooms to new learning aids and specialised training to teachers, everything happens when schools are assured of finances,” said Var. “We invested all our blood and sweat, our energy and most importantly constructed new infrastructure by investing our hard earned money. We raised finances by selling our ancestral land and other assets. In many cases, we got loan worth crores from JK Bank by mortgaging our residential houses.”
The coming of outside branded schools has also put heavy pressure on many of our schools as they are forced to invest more to compete with them by investing more. “Branded schools have 3 to 4 times more fee than most of our schools,” said Var. “If 10 % fee hike and the admission fee is denied to us, our students won’t be able to compete with rest of world. It will be a collective loss for society.”
The Association said that most of the schools are under the financial burden and they have been waiting for education policy and resumption of 2006 government order, in order to gain stability. “During these few years of instability the schools survived only because of admission fee and this admission fee is our backbone. If the government removes it, anybody can guess what will happen next,” said Var. “Maybe schools will have to down shutters as it will become unviable to run a school with so many curbs.”