Schools can’t charge transportation fee during lockdown: UP secondary education department


UP; The UP secondary education department on Tuesday directed private schools across the state to not charge transportation fees from students at a time when the educational institutions were closed since mid-March following Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

“The schools must not charge transportation fees when they are closed because of the crisis emerging due to corona pandemic,” said principal secretary, secondary education, Aradhana Shukla in an order.

She said the schools must take fees on a monthly basis instead of taking three months’ fees in advance because of the prevailing crisis.

“The department has further asked school managements to consider the request of parents who are unable to pay the fees. The department suggested that in such a case the school should provide fees relaxation and collect the fees in instalments once the situation normalises,” said a secondary education department official in a press release.

The order was issued after the department received several complaints about schools forcing parents to deposit the first quarterly fees in April itself.

The department has warned action if schools are found guilty of forcing parents to pay three months’ fees in April.

The department said it was not right when the entire state was under complete lockdown to contain Sars-Cov-2 spread.

Hence orders are issued to stop the collection of fees by all government and private schools,” the officer said.

‘Schools fleecing parents’

In Lucknow, Noida and Ghaziabad, parents are getting payment notice for school fees. In this time of Coronavirus crisis, when parents were expecting some waiver in school fees, school owners are trying make more profit despite government orders to give relaxations.

“All schools are closed so they can’t charge transport fees, sports fees, computer lab fees, activity fee etc. So schools are charging fee under the head composite fee where schools are not giving details of charges. On enquiry, school authority says it is according to an Uttar Pradesh Act and they are not bound to disclose the details. So citing government order the schools are exploiting parents even in time of crisis,” a parent alleged pleading anonymity.

Fee hike amid salary cuts

“We all are facing salary cut, job cut, no business. Despite all of this, schools have increased fees by 10 per cent. Schools are taking advantage of not so clear instructions from the state government regarding fee and of the existing gap. Same brand schools in Delhi are taking only tuition fee which is very low. It is simply because of the clear instructions issued by the Delhi government. If Delhi schools can survive why not UP,” mother of class 9 boy argues whose son study in an all boys’ institution in Lucknow.

Why pay for YouTube lessons?

Students, who are getting online classes, might pay tuition fee but there are kids of class 1 to 5 who are getting only youtube video link and home work instructions are also asked to pay for it. When operational cost of the school is quite low, then why this exploitation, a parent alleges.

“We request the chief minister and the education minister to look into this injustice in time of Covid-19 crisis and do justice at the earliest by issuing clear instructions through media,” father of a class 5 student urges.

Some Lucknow schools ease norms

Some of good schools in Lucknow have not increased fees this year so far.

To start with, Study Hall school management in a message to parents says, “We will not increase fee till normalcy returns. We would also like to make the process of fee payment easier by extending the following options: The fee for the first quarter, i.e. April, May and June can be paid on a monthly basis. The fee can be paid by the end of each month till the lockdown period continues. Parents also have the option of spreading out the payment of the fees for the first quarter evenly distributed through the remaining nine months of this academic year without a late fee.”

St Francis College has given an option to parents to deposit fees of first quarter by July 15. Head of Millennium School Manjula Goswami said parents must understand school fee was an important expenditure. Those who can afford should make the payment on stipulated time as schools have to give salary to their staff.[HT]

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