Himachal Govt for audit of private school accounts

Shimla: To bring about transparency in management of private educational institutions, which includes accounts and increasing of fees, the education department here has circulated a HP Private Educational Institutions (Accounts, Fees & other Matters) draft bill 2011 for discussion.

Education minister ID Dhiman said that the government had decided to repeal the Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institutions (Regulation Act, 1997 (Act No. 14 of 1999) which was enacted primarily to issue permission and for maintenance of accounts.

A new law is proposed to be enacted which will make it mandatory for private educational institutions to get their accounts audited from chartered accountants, publish the accounts and any increase in fees and funds would be reasonable, said the education minister.

Principal secretary education Shrikant Baldi said there was an increasing demand for access to information about management of private schools that were playing an important role in the education sector.

Dismissing the proposed legislation as an intrusion into management of private schools, Badli said that it was only a step towards bringing about transparency in management of schools.

Besides a proper audit of private school accounts, the proposed bill was for making the accounts available on the school website or readily available in the school office, an increase in fee should only be undertaken after approval by the school’s parent teacher association and a school would only be allowed to close after a provision is made to shift the students to another school, said the education secretary.

The proposed act also has provisions for inspection and penalty, should the proposed law be flouted.

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