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Maharashtra education department proposes to give parents more power in PTA

Following outrage over unprecedented fee hikes in schools and complaints against the misuse of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), the state education department has proposed amendments in the formation of PTAs. The associations will now include a greater number of parents as compared to school representatives.

Deputy director of education BB Chavan said, “Observing the lack of awareness amongst parents and misuse of the PTA for the approval of fee structure, the education department is bringing in a major amendment in the formation process of PTAs.” The proposed amendments will happen in the PTA section of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011.

 Why change the ratios? Chavan said at the time of PTA meetings, the school gets an approval for its proposed hike in fees through a majority vote, which needs to be amended.
 “Till date, the PTA was formed in an equal ratio: 10 parents and 10 representatives of the school administration. So, during the fee hike approval process, even if two parents agree to the proposed fee, the amount is approved on the basis of [the school’s] majority. But, I’ve suggested that the amendment change the ratio from 2:2 to 2:3, so that there are more parents in the PTA as compared to the school authorities,” said Chavan.

 

In the past, the education department has turned a deaf ear to the parents’ grievance over fee hikes, because the PTA was the body approving the proposed fee. While several parents and NGOs are demanding the removal of PTAs, as they are not working in their favour, the deputy director said, “Despite receiving complaints on hikes against schools, we couldn’t do anything, as the proposed hike was approved by the PTA, which legally allows all unaided private schools to raise fees as per their wish. There is no provision in the Fee Regulatory Act to take action against PTAs.”

However, more loopholes in the education law need to be filled. “If PTAs are statutory bodies, there has to be a code of action against them if they are not functioning as per the law. There are a number of loopholes in the laws and rules framed by the education department, because of which parents are suffering,” said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education.

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