The Governor of Gujarat, O P Kohli on 12 April 2017 gave his nod to the Gujarat Self Financed School (Regulation of Fees) Bill – 2017 that was passed by the state’s assembly on the second last day of its recently concluded budget session. The bill with the signature of the governor has now become an act. Speaking on the development, Gujarat’s Education Minister, Bhupendrasinh Chudasma stated that the Governor gave his consent to the bill without suggesting any changes. He further added that the bill would come into force from the new session this year.
The act places the upper limit of annual school fees at Rs 15000, 25000 and 27000 for primary/pre-primary, secondary and higher secondary education respectively. The schools caught breaching the provisions of the act would be subjected to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh for the first offence, 10 lakh for the second and will stand to lose their affiliation with the state authority on the third breach. The schools which have already taken high fees will have to adjust and equalise the amount accordingly.
The law also includes a provision of tri-monthly fees. It also has provision for setting up of committees led by retired judges, which would solely work to take up complaints regarding the law’s breach. It also bans the practice of making the purchase of uniforms and books from a particular shop mandatory. Along with this, the law has abolished several other malpractices with regard to Self Financed School fees and related subjects. The passing of the law is a major step towards checking commercialisation of education in the state. It would also relieve the middle class from the heavy burden of fees and other arbitrary measures employed by the private schools.