With less than two weeks left for the last date to submit the list of candidates for next year’s board examinations, schools are yet to receive directives for the collection of examination fee, despite the Delhi government announcing that it will cover the increased fee for all government school students.
In June, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia announced the government would cover the complete examination fee for all students in its schools, who will appear for Class X and XII board exams. The matter resurfaced this month, when the CBSE hiked the fee to Rs 1,200 for SC/ST students and Rs 1,500 for the rest of the students of both grades in these schools. This is a substantial jump from Rs 375 for Class X and Rs 600 for Class XII students. In case of SC/ST students, only Rs 50 was charged, while the remainder — Rs 325 for Class X, and Rs 550 for Class XII— was reimbursed by the government to the board.
Officials then reiterated that the government would carry the financial burden of the fee for all students. However, schools said they are yet to receive any directive. “We’ve only heard about it in the media, not from the department, so we are collecting the fee. But now, we have parents saying they’ve heard from the news that they don’t have to pay, and many are not paying,” said the principal of one such school.
Between 30-35% students have paid the fee so far, he said. The last date for schools to submit the candidate list is August 31.
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Following opposition from the Delhi government, the CBSE had issued a circular last week, saying it will restore the practice of collecting only Rs 50 from SC/ST students. Schools have since been collecting only Rs 50 from SC/ST students, but there has been little clarity on the rest of the students.
When contacted, Sisodia said: “It’s a huge sum of money, we’re working towards re-appropriating finances towards it. It is possible a grant will have to be sought in the coming Assembly session. Any fee collected from students will be reimbursed once these arrangements are made.”
A teacher in a government school said the actual fee paid by individual students is more than Rs 1,500: “This is the base amount for five subjects. Additionally, students have to pay Rs 150 for each subject practical, and Rs 300 for every additional subject they might have opted for. Many students’ actual fee is around Rs 2,700, which is a huge toll on low income families whose children study in these schools.”
Education department officials also said they were awaiting directions. “It is a huge amount of money in question here. We cannot give out an order or a circular regarding this until the ministry gives us directives, since this is an announcement which came from there,” said a senior official.