THE STATE government has taken the first step towards amending the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2011, to address a number of complaints made by parents against fee hike in private schools.

The school education department has formed an 11-member committee to study the existing Act and recommend changes to address the issues raised by parents.

The decision to form a committee comes in the wake of several parents’ groups and education activists protesting against “illegal” and “unreasonable” hike in school fees. Parents of children from 21 private schools in the city had gathered at Azad Maidan last month to raise the issue.

Over the past few months, they have demanded that the state government intervene in the matter and regulate the fees. Some have also demanded a separate fee regulating body on the lines of that for higher education institutes. Currently, the Act states that the fee in private schools be decided in consensus with parent-teacher associations.

While the state government had initially remained silent on the matter, it issued a government resolution Saturday, announcing formation of the committee. The resolution mandates that the committee has two parent representatives and two representatives from school managements.

The committee will study all complaints raised so far pertaining to fee hike and also review the existing law.

Parents’ groups are however not too pleased with the move. Arundhati Chavan, president of the Parent Teachers’ Association United Forum, said the GR did not throw any light on how the two parent representatives were to be selected. “In the past too, there have been similar committees with parent representatives. However, the state would appoint parents from remote areas who were not aware of the issues being raised by registered parents’ associations or bodies,” said Chavan. “These representatives are submissive to the government’s decision,” she said.