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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Second year in a row, govt schools step in to help students pay Board fee

The Board had in 2019 sharply increased its examination fees, making it Rs 1,200 for SC/ST students and Rs 1,500 for the rest in both classes X and XII.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: September 25, 2021 1:58:15 am
In 2019, the Delhi government had announced it would cover the complete examination fee for all Board year students in its schools. (File)

Teachers have started dipping into their pockets and schools are trying to ‘crowdsource’ funds, with less than a week left to collect CBSE exam fees and submit the list of class X and XII students who will be appearing in the first-term board examinations. The process began on September 17 and the last date is September 30.

The Board had in 2019 sharply increased its examination fees, making it Rs 1,200 for SC/ST students and Rs 1,500 for the rest in both classes X and XII. That is the base fee for five subjects. With the additional amount for each subject’s practical and additional or optional subject, the fee goes up to around Rs 2,500 for many class XII students.

This amount is too high for many government school students from lower middle class and working-class families. There are over 3.5 lakh children studying in these two grades in government schools.

In 2019, the Delhi government had announced it would cover the complete exam fee for all Board-year students in its schools and had paid for as many as 3.14 lakh students following a Cabinet meeting decision. It did not do so last year citing a financial crunch.

“This year too, the fund situation is not so great. There is no proposal from the government on this so far,” a senior official in the education department had said.

Pushpa, the mother of a class XII student in Mangolpuri who needs to pay a fee of Rs 2,100, said she has told the school that she is finding it difficult to gather the amount. However, her daughter’s class teacher told her she is running out of time and will need to do it within the next few days.

“My husband used to work as a labourer through a contractor, but that stopped since the pandemic. Now, he only makes money on days when he gets daily wage work. For a household like ours, Rs 2,100 is a lot of money… I’m trying to see if anyone will lend me the money,” she said.

The teacher at a government school in East Delhi said parents have been pleading with the school head to waive the fee, believing that the school is demanding it. “Every class teacher in class X and XII is paying Rs 8,000-10,000 from their personal funds to help the most hard-pressed students. They are stressed; this is the second year they are dipping into their pockets. The government is paying to the IB for a handful of students, but this is for the welfare of a majority of its students,” the teacher said.

Other schools are returning to ‘crowdsourcing’ tactics they had used in 2020 to raise money.

Last year, Government Co-Ed Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Sector 8 Rohini had raised funds for the fees of 100 students. “We have reached out to a major publisher in Darya Ganj who had helped us last year; they have asked for the names of 100 students whose fees they have offered to cover. A businessman has promised Rs 30,000, which will cover the fees of around 18 students… and a doctor has also said he will contribute,” said principal Awadhesh Jha.

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