Fixed fee hitting viability of schools in Chennai?
The recent demand for ₹2 lakh as caution deposit from students of SSM School in Chennai and the subsequent arrest of its correspondent, K. Santhanam, has yet again put the focus on the fixation of fees in self-financing schools and the viability of running such institutions.
The Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009 prohibits collecting fees in excess of what has been fixed by a Fee Determination Committee, based on the available academic and physical infrastructure in an institution. However, a section of representatives of private schools contends that running an institution with the current fee structure is not economically feasible.
“While we do comply with the Central government norms with regard to pay, the teacher-student ratio that we are asked to maintain isn’t always possible. We have additional teachers for subjects such as maths and science as well as for co-curricular subjects which we are often asked to restrict,” said B. Purushothaman, correspondent of the Everwin Group of Schools.
If an institute has over 90 teachers, only 70% of their salary is taken into consideration by the fee determination committee, he added. While the preferred student-teacher ratio is 30:1, several schools rope in teachers for extra-curricular activities. “The demands of parents too have greatly changed in the last ten years and they come with a set of expectations from the school with regard to the facilities they provide,” said C. Satish, director of the Paavai Group of Schools in Namakkal.