Government to initiate dialogue over school fees

 thehindu.com  01/13/2021 15:12:22 

Yielding to pressure from parents associations, the Department of Public Instruction has decided to convene a meeting to resolve the dispute regarding fee collection by schools during the pandemic. There have been several protests in the last few months by parents over the issue.

In a circular issued on Wednesday, the department said that it would convene a meeting on Friday with parents associations and private school managements to discuss fee collection for the current academic year.

Parents have alleged that private schools were charging an exorbitant amount of money as fees for the 2020-21 academic year and were not willing to let go of infrastructure and other recurring costs that they would not incur this year due to online classes. Many parents had pointed out that schools were blocking their children from attending online classes citing non-payment of fees.

School managements, on the other hand, pointed out that a majority of the parents had not paid the fees and that they were unable to pay salaries to their teaching and non-teaching staff.

B.N. Yogananda, general secretary of RTE Students and Parents Association, said, We will pay the entire fee amount if the number of students in the school is less than 100. If the number of students is in the range of 101 to 500, we have agreed to pay 75% of the fees. Parents have agreed to pay 50% of the fee amount if the number of students is between 501 and 1,000. Schools that have above 1,000 students can collect 25% of their annual fees.

He added that they arrived at this formula after consultations with hundreds of parents who had lost their jobs or faced a salary cut because of the pandemic.

An official of the department said that they would hear from both school managements and parents. We do not think that we will be able to reach a decision on the same day and are open to more consultations, the official added.

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