The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced a 25 per cent fee reduction in private schools for the current academic year across all boards and has directed the schools not to charge any other fee under co-curricular activities
The decision came after a series of meetings with associations of private schools and parents over the aspect of fees.
Also, the schools will not hike the fees for this academic session. Those who have already paid the full fees will get the amount reimbursed as per this decision. However, the fee relief comes with the condition that parents have to pay 50 per cent of the fees by October 31 in order to avail this relief.
The decision taken in the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani came following the Gujarat High Court’s order on September 18 where it had left it on the state government to decide on the school fee relaxation and reduction issue amid the Covid-19 pandemic and reminded that a balanced decision should be taken keeping in mind the intent of all stakeholders involved.
“The state government had held meetings with the school administrators and parents following the guidelines and judgment of the Gujarat High Court.
As a result of the deliberations of these meetings, the school administrators and parents have agreed with the state government for a 25 per cent fee relief,” said Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.
In August, the state government, through the secretary of education department, had moved the high court after it failed to come to a conclusive decision following negotiations with private schools and their representatives. Following the stalemate, the government had moved the court for a direction to this effect.
The decision applies to private schools under all the boards — Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate Secondary Education (ICSE), ISC (Indian School Certificate), International Baccalaureate (IB), International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), Cambridge University.
However, while the private schools have expressed their consent to the move, a few parents’ associations are opposing the state government’s 25 per cent decline in fee since they were demanding for a 50 per cent fee cut.
Alleging that the state government gave in to the demands of private schools did not pay heed to their requests, president of Wali Swaraj Manch Amit Panchal, one of the petitioners said, “We will decide the course of action. Whether to challenge it legally or to submit representation to the state government will be decided in coordination with parents’ associations of Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot. We stick to our demand of a 50 per cent fee cut.”
“We are awaiting the government’s Government Resolution (GR) to study on which terms and conditions the state has ordered a 25 per cent fee reduction. If our proposal has been incorporated in the GR, we are ready to implement it,” Manan Choksi, president, Association of Progressive Schools (AOPS), said.
“We had proposed to the state government to reduce the fees by 20 per cent provided that the parents pay the school fees for the last two quarters (i.e. from April-September 2020) by October 31, 2020. Those who will pay the fees after the aforesaid deadline will not get any relaxation in the fees,” he added.
While appreciating the schools that have voluntarily announced 25 per cent fee relief Chudasama said that since the state government has announced this relief, parents should pay 50 per cent of their fees by October 31.
Further, the state government has instructed the private school administrators not to dismiss any teacher in the wake of complaints of dismissal or non-payment of salaries as a result of the fee cut.
Responding to the demand of 100 per cent fee waiver by the opposition Congress, the education minister said that the Congress should show an example of 100 per cent fee waiver in any Congress-ruled state.
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