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Heavy curbs on private coaching classes on cards

Friday, June 15, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

50,000 classes will be closed down rendering over 10 lakh jobless, feel class owners

Private coaching classes will be under the scanner of the government, with the 'Maharashtra Private Coaching Regulation Act 2018', being introduced in the ensuing monsoon session of the state legislature, to regulate their activities.

If passed in the monsoon session, the classes will have to begin registering themselves with directorate of school education from October 2018 onwards. A draft bill puts a total ban on canvassing by coaching classes and also puts curbs on teachers.

The 18-page draft bill covers all aspects of the private coaching business from fees, number of students and type of premises to hiring of tutors. The draft bill stipulates: separate registration by classes for separate stream, inspection of the class after every three years before renewal of registration, classes will have to appoint counsellors as well as to provide guidance to students, classes can fix the tuition fees but the government will be able to intervene if it finds that the fee structure is too high.

The classes will be allowed to advertise individually. But they will not be allowed to canvass themselves representing successful candidates of their class. Also they will not be allowed to tie up with schools/colleges. In such situation registration of school/college can be cancelled. The existing agreements, if any, will be allowed to continue for three months. The teachers already teaching in schools/colleges will not be allowed to teach in private coaching classes. They will have to select either a school or a class.

The classes will have to contribute one per cent of their profit to “education development fund” to be set up by the government. The fund will be utilised to provide training to teachers (this contribution was fixed at 5 per cent earlier). The number of students per batch can be 80 (this limit was 50 in earlier draft). The number of students can be allowed to be increased up to 120 provided there are better facilities. The classes engaged in imparting coaching related to professional courses will have to register themselves for three years.

Private tuitions at home: Only 5 students will be allowed in one batch. If more students are to be accommodated then the class conductor will have to make better facilities available. Such classes will have to register themselves for 5 years.

However coaching class owners feel that this is nothing but an attempt to close down private coaching classes and with these measures, over 50,000 private coaching classes will be closed down rendering over 10 lakh teachers and non-teaching workers jobless.

Most of these teachers are women, he said and added that if the government does not withdraw the proposed act, the association will launch a state wide agitation which will badly affect  students’ careers since lakhs of students depend upon private coaching classes. A spokesman for the “Coaching Classes Directors’ Association (CCDA) that most of those teaching in private coaching classes are women. Such move will also affect students’ career since lakhs of students depend on private coaching classes.

“If the draft goes through in toto, we will have to go for periodic licence renewal, charge fee approved by authorities and even reserve seats for students belonging to specified sections of the society. We are already paying 18 per cent GS, professional tax and the regular 30 per cent income tax. It's not like the state has given us free or subsidized land, electricity or building due to which they can have the moral authority to put so many curbs”.

“The proposed legislation also grants complete access to the local education officer (or any other designated authority) to premises and official records of the coaching class. The proposed bill will allow education officials to come and evaluate our teaching material. This is all intellectual property so why should we share it with an outsider?" he said and added that regulation is welcome but 'not this format'. "All of us want that there should be regulations because it will help to streamline things. But the clauses included in this draft reek of inspector raj and dictatorial attitude.

“Integrated coaching system, in which colleges allow private tutors to use their campus for coaching, is the rage nowadays because of mutually beneficial economics. However, now this will be completely banned. Registration will be mandatory for every coaching class for which a fee up to Rs.10,000) will be charged. Before registration process is complete, the institute will have to prove that it has premises which is authorized by a local body, ample parking space, separate washrooms for girls and boys and a secure perimeter. Classes that are renewing their registrations will also have to submit proof of complete tax payments. This will automatically compel the class owners to hike the tuition fees making coaching unaffordable to poor students,” he added.

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