Students denied schooling for not paying fees
Schools deaf to pleas of leniency in fee payment
Kakinada: The Covid-19 has affected the private schools and their students in many ways. Students who couldn't pay the fee are not being allowed for online classes in East Godavari district.
The school managements have not understood the difficulties of parents, many of them have not received salaries during Covid-19 period. As a result, they couldn't pay the fees. Without comprehending their difficulty, the school managements are punishing the students for non-payment of fees. One such case is that a brilliant student Hari Haran (name changed) of Ashram Public School (CBSE) in Kakinada has not been permitted for online classes owing to non-payment of school fees.
Kavita (name changed), a parent who runs a small fancy store in Kakinada, is now burdened with the school fee of her younger son Hari Haran, a Class VIII student. She questioned why the government is not taking action on the private managements with regard to the fee payment. She also expressed grave concern about the future of her ward in view of the prevention of the boy from attending the online classes.
She paid an amount of Rs 21,000 to the school last year. Additionally, she paid Rs 12,000 for IIT coaching. She has to pay Rs 7,100 in addition to Rs 500 administrative expenses.
Apart from the annual fee, schools make parents spend an additional Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 in the name of excursions, sports and cultural programmes. She demanded that the government inquire into the reasons for collecting administrative expenses.
In view of her circumstances, she is unable to pay the school fee. She wants to know the fate of the student. She requested for the extension of the time for the payment of the fees.
Even though many parents are unable to pay the school fees, they are afraid of speaking publicly regarding the punishment they may receive from the managements.
Kishore (name changed) said that he is studying the 9th standard and his younger brother is studying in 8th standard. He said that for almost 3 months he could not attend the online classes as he doesn't have a device.
"Somehow, we managed to procure a computer 15 days back. But we could not attend the classes because the school blocked our names as we couldn't pay the fee. When we enquired the school authorities, they told us that automatically a student will be blocked from the classes, if he is a fee defaulter as the software was designed so," he said.
He wondered, if the online classes are provided only for those who paid fee. "The school is collecting the total amount of fee for the first term. The entire first term was wasted in setting up the devices, internet etc."
"The classes were also not of good quality and we couldn't connect properly. It took so many days for so many students to attend the classes. The school also never provided proper guidelines to the parents. So many parents and students are not aware of technical subtleties. The student is deprived of the school atmosphere as well as learning,"he said.
He said that the online teaching never provides lively classroom teaching. No school can compensate for a classroom and moreover school is not providing any other physical amenities or activities.
Chandrika (name changed) said that the school is charging even for the ID card, additional administrative fee and total amount of term fee, maybe tuition fee.But the school is not successful in providing proper tuition through online classes. It is highly impossible to create a classroom in a house.
Hence, the schools have to reconsider collecting fees and try to reduce the amount as the whole world is under economic depression because of the pandemic. "Anyway schools' expenditure on a student is reduced; I feel the amount of the fee levied also should be reduced accordingly," she said.
Justice Kantha Rao, chairman of the Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Supervisory Commission, issued an order to all managements of private schools and Junior Colleges in the state not to increase the fees for the academic year 2020-21. He ordered the schools and colleges to continue with the same fees which were in effect from last year. This order was passed keeping in mind the Covid-19 crisis.
As per the latest orders issued to the schools, the schools can charge tuition fees from the students only on a monthly basis without exerting any pressure on the parents. The Education Supervisory Commission has also made it clear that they can only collect the fees for the first quarter with two instalments for 2020-21.
These rules will be applicable to all the schools affiliated to the boards like State Board, Central Board and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) across the State. All the school managements are warned with strict action, if they are found to have refused admission to any student for want of fees. "If any management is found violating the government orders, it will be subjected to stern action,' the Justice said in the order.
The schools have their own excuses to force parents to pay school fees without offering proper teaching.
Ashram Public School principal T Augustine told 'The Hans India' that during this Covid-19 period they are unable to pay salaries every month. And they can't run online classes without payment to the teachers. They are solely dependent upon students' fees and hence the collection of fees is inevitable.
"We are dependent upon software companies in Chennai for conducting online classes and we should pay the amount for running the online classes. Hence collection of fees is compulsory and the school doesn't have any financial support from any source. We are collecting Rs 500 as administrative expenses to defray the amount to the software company," he said.
He further added that they are collecting fees from the students only to the period of the pending salaries to the teachers. "We are taking the fees from the students only for first term. The management understands the problems of the parents and hence we are ready to accept the fees not in total but in instalments also.
Bu the fact is many schools have sacked teachers without any reasons and those who are retained by the managements are receiving a meagre amount. That's how both teachers and students' parents are suffering because of no control on schools.