On a day when many state board schools commenced the new academic year online, students from other boards and their parents had little to cheer about. From exorbitant fees to poor quality of online classes, virtual learning has not gone down well with a section of parents.
Several parents in the city have complained that private schools have charged fees for facilities their wards are not availing, at least during the initial months of the academic year when teaching-learning is taking place online.
Even though many schools have retained the fee structure for the academic year 2020-2021, parents said schools have charged fees for use of libraries, laboratories, sports, and gymnasium facilities, among others, that students are unable to access.
“The school recently sent an email with fee details to be deposited for the first semester. But how can they charge when the student is not using libraries or sports facilities, at least, this semester?” asked a parent, whose son is a student at a school affiliated to the CBSE.
The parent added that the annual fee goes up to Rs 1.75 lakh, and this year, the schools must not burden them with “unnecessary” expenses.
“My husband and I have faced at least 50 percent pay cut each. It has become a tough task to pay the fees for our two children. Considering a change of school is also not a viable option at this time,” added another parent.
While schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE have started online classes, some are yet to begin virtual classes, adding to parents’ worries.
“We have paid fees for the first term in May, but the school has only given false assurances about the commencement of online classes every week. My son could be among the few left out from the beginning of this academic year. Even coaching centres are not available due to the lockdown,” said Prathamesh Walgunkar, another parent whose daughter is a Class VI student.
Ongoing online classes have left the parent community feeling cheated for the fees that they have deposited.
“I paid close to Rs 1 lakh for the first semester. My son is in Class I and cannot comprehend everything happening online. I also have to attend the class, sitting beside him, and later teach him all over again. But when I see the quality of the online classes, I am disappointed,” said Purnika Shukla, a parent.
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