Should we regulate private school fees?

The National Council is in the process of coming up with a set of recommendations for the framing of guidelines for private schools. One of the main issues is rising private school fees, which is not only bothering the Council but also parents across the country.

The issue raises the question if the state is allowed to regulate the fees or income of a private institution.

While the debate of price control occurs globally, it is generally agreed by economists that such restrictions should be avoided because the objectives are usually not achieved.

The Council has argued that since the Constitution guarantees the right to access to education until class X, private school fees must be regulated so that those from lower income groups can also opt for private schools.

However, if that is the case, then we should only have public schools.

The problem here is not the private school fees. The question is why some have to opt for private schools despite the increasing fees.

The problem stems from a lack of seats in public schools and apparently better quality of education in the private schools.

Therefore, the right to education, and that means a quality education until class X, must be provided by public schools first. This means enough intake capacity, sufficient facilities, and adequately qualified, paid and motivated teachers.

The fees charged by private schools should be left to the market to decide.  If the quality of education in a private school is exceptional, people will pay whatever the price. Some private schools will be motivated to provide additional facilities to those available in the public ones. The government must not stifle the growth of private schools that are genuinely interested in providing high quality education through their income.

If the quality of education in a private school is poor, and there are enough alternatives including public schools available, then it will lose students and be forced to improve.

Government must intervene to ensure that the private schools don’t collude to uniformly raise their prices. Government must also interfere to ensure that private schools are hiring qualified teachers and that a basic level of facilities and other required amenities are provided because education is a public good.

It must also ensure that private schools provide education that either meets or exceeds the quality expectations of the government and society.

Leave the private fees alone and concentrate on addressing the problems of our public schools.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    Why parents prefer to send their children to a private school? Probably we will need some good research and related data to arrive at some ideas; but we can assume a few things. There are chances that our parents get impressed with the culture that is associated with a private school. Here is a culture that is expected to make our children smart, intelligent, educated, high knowledge performers and sophisticated if I am allowed to use that word.

    All of that equally attributes to the culture of schooling in a private infrastructure whether it’s pure academic education or the other facilities that the infrastructure can offer. Some parents may prefer a school with adequate facilities like sports or other activities that they want their children to access and that too under one roof or inside that same campus or building.

    Another thing that parents usually don’t ignore is the fact that the academic results that matter the most to their children are Class X and Class XII results. But that’s one long journey in schooling. Still, among a few private schools, the ones with better records of results to show usually find itself among better demands. But results alone don’t shape an entire education culture for any school. It shouldn’t be like that. Education doesn’t necessarily mean passing difficult exams with good marks; do it?

    Even public schools, both at present and in the past, have produced good results. Not all schools and an educational culture can produce good and exceptional students while producing exceptional results. Not all bright talents have exceptional results to show in form of measurable performance.

    It’s probably better if we don’t over control a private school business just by creating a private against public school scenario. Even a public school needs to be better controlled and managed for its true objectives keeping the cost-benefit chapter in mind. Moreover, over spending is also not considered a smart thing all the time. Every school is responsible for producing quality human resources and that’s one huge challenge. Not all human resources of a nation are going to contribute the same way for sure. Whether it’s a private or public school, it needs to make sure that human resources don’t become non-constructive and non-intellectual even after 12 years of schooling. Let’s leave quality as a decision criteria for the parents and they should decide wisely.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply