January 25, 2021 3:39:27 am
Lack of fresh directives from the Delhi government on fee collection after schools re-opened for classes X and XII students last week has left parents and schools uncertain. While many schools said they will wait for a government order in this regard, parents of students in some schools claimed to have received messages seeking extra payment.
On Saturday, parents of children studying in a school in Pitampura received messages from school authorities for payment of fees accumulated over the last 10 months. “…since school had reopened from January 18, 2021, we would request parents to cooperate by depositing… the above mentioned charges (annual and development charges) for 2020-2021 in three… installments amounting to INR 6,600 payable in January, February and March 2021,” the message read.
“…we have to take responsibility for our staff. Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have had to lay off 20 drivers, 15 allied staff and some teachers because we have not been able to pay them salaries,” said the head of school.
Schools have been ordered to charge only tuition fees since April 2020. This order was extended saying, “Unlocking stage is still going on in a phased manner, hence, complete lockdown is yet to be over and schools are yet to be open for physical classroom learning.”
Delhi government education officials did not respond to queries on whether any directives will be issued soon.
S K Bhattacharya, president of the Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, said schools under it would continue to wait for fresh directives or an intervention by Delhi High Court. “Reopening is only in a limited fashion for classes X and XII. The matter of fee collection is still in court as we had challenged the government’s last order… There’s no doubt that schools are in grave financial trouble, but at same time we cannot do anything because that would be a violation of the government order,” he said.
Meanwhile, parents of students of various Delhi Public School branches have also filed an intervention appeal in the HC in response to the petition by private school societies and associations. They have requested the court to direct DPS Society to not charge annual charges and to dismiss their writ petition.
Parents have been complaining of schools charging under heads other than tuition fees — such as operational charges, development fund and maintenance fees — since last August.
After complaints by parents, the Directorate of Education had invited the manager or head of school of DPS Mathura Road for a meeting in September. It issued a notice to the school after “neither principal nor manager or any other representative from the school attended the meeting”.
School principal Deeksha Khera said she would not comment on the fee collection “as the matter is being resolved in court”. “Until the court says otherwise, we may continue with our collection. Everyone is waiting for the court’s final directives,” she said.
Renuka Tyagi, one of the petitioners, said reopening of schools has made their plea more urgent: “There is a concern that schools opening for classes X and XII will be used as a justification to collect annual and other charges from students of all classes.”
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