Srinagar, Jan 18: In a significant development, the department of Higher Education, Government of India, has issued strict guidelines for the regulation of private coaching institutes in all states and Union Territories (UTs).
The guidelines come at a crucial time as the Kashmir Valley has witnessed a mushrooming growth of private coaching centers, particularly the franchises of outside coaching centres, charging exorbitant fees for different courses.
Earlier, the MoE acknowledged the need for a model framework to regulate private coaching centers during the last parliamentary session.
Meanwhile the fresh guidelines issued by the MoE highlights issues like rising student suicides, fire incidents, inadequate facilities, and questionable teaching methodologies prevalent in these coaching centers.
The MoE has stated that The absence of a defined policy or regulation has allowed unregulated private coaching centers to multiply across the country, leading to reported cases of exorbitant fees, undue stress on students, resulting in tragic suicides, and various malpractices.
"These concerns have been consistently raised in parliamentary debates, discussions, and questions, prompting the Ministry of Education to intervene," read the official document.
While acknowledging that the regulation of +2 level education falls under the purview of State/UT Governments, the MoE has emphasised the need for state-level regulation due to the diverse educational landscape.
"The matter has also been brought to the attention of the Department of Consumer Affairs to take action under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, against misleading advertisements by coaching centers and private higher education institutions," read the guidelines.
The newly issued guidelines provide a structured framework for the registration and regulation of coaching centers, suggesting minimum standard requirements and emphasising the well-being of enrolled students.
In the latest guidelines, the government has focused on co-curricular activities, career guidance, and psychological counseling for the holistic development and mental well-being of students.
Key provisions of the guidelines include mandatory registration of coaching centers, qualifications for tutors, conditions for student enrollment, restrictions on misleading advertisements, minimum space requirements, and a counseling system. The guidelines also mandate the creation of websites by coaching centers with updated details on tutors' qualifications, courses, duration, facilities, and fees.
"The coaching centres should provide easy exit policy, fee refund policies. If the student has paid for the course in full and is leaving the course in the middle of the prescribed period, student will be refunded from out of the fees deposited earlier for the remaining period, on a pro-rata basis within 10 days," it reads.
"The coaching centres should not hire the services of any tutor or person who has been convicted for any offence involving moral turpitude," it reads.