Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (Amendment) Bill 2019. The amendment aims at expanding the scope of regulating fee structure and standards in private junior colleges. It also ensures 25 per cent reservation to poor students through a commission.

Tabling the Bill, Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh said, “The Bill aims at regulating standards, fees structure and reservations to poorer sections. It will also bring junior colleges into the ambit of the Monitoring Commission, headed by a retired High Court judge.”

The Bill became necessary to check the commercialisation of the education sector in the state. Especially at a time when private and corporate educational institutions have been charging excessive amounts in the name of coaching to EAMCET, IIT, NEET and other competitive exams. Besides, the same practice is followed for regular courses in junior colleges, which is adversely affecting government schools and colleges.

The Bill also specifies that 25% of seats should be given to poor students, free of cost under the Right to Education Act. The Monitoring Commission will check the implementation, and violation of this clause will attract punitive action, Adimulapu Suresh said.

The commission will maintain standards of Intermediate Education, fee regulation, the competence of teachers, information disclosure, effective inspection, monitor junior colleges, and implement provisions of Right to Education Act. They will mete out punitive measures on defaulting junior colleges and regulate all matters concerning Intermediate Education.

The state has 3,339 junior colleges, of which 2,014 are in the private sector while 471 are government junior colleges, 730 in the government sector, and 124 are aided colleges. The number of students in Junior Colleges is 1,064,127 and teaching staff is 37,941.

The Assembly has also passed two other bills by voice vote. The Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institution and Endowments (Second Amendment) Act 2019. It will enable review of the number of board members of Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) that is now fixed at 19.

The next is Andhra Pradesh Excise (Amendment) Act 2019, which enables state to levy Retail Excise, Additional Retail Excise, Manufacture Excise, and any other taxes.

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