NEW DELHI: The Centre has urged private schools across the country to not increase school fees, and also not to charge three-month fees in one go following spread of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown. it's asked states to interface with guardians/parents and schools to own a coordinated approach.
Sources said parents and guardians have taken the matter of the fee hike issue with the Human Resource Development Ministry.
Taking cognizance of such complaints, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank' said on Friday, "I appeal each and every school that is presently facing difficult circumstances caused by coronavirus pandemic, the issue should be considered sympathetically".
He hoped that state education departments across the country must be considering the demands in coordination with parents/guardians and school managements.
Meanwhile, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia said on Friday that private schools within the capital can only charge tuition fee on a monthly basis from the guardians and also cannot hike fee without the government's nod.
Sisodia, also the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, said the school faculty cannot charge other kinds of fees, like annual fee or transportation fee, from the parents in wake of the pandemic coronavirus.
Speaking to the media through a digital press conference, Sisodia said that there have been reports of unfair fee hike, the demand for quarterly payment and reduced or non-payment of salaries by some private schools.
He announced that private schools are allowed to charge only tuition fee on a monthly basis from their students.
"We are receiving complaints from many parents that private schools have increased their fees. and those students who are failing to pay the fees on time are being dropped from the online classes. I'd request the private schools to not come right down to this level," said Sisodia.
Outlining the new directions issued by the Directorate of Education on Friday, Sisodia said as per the order, all private schools are informed that they'll not increase their fees under any head without a beforehand approval by the Delhi government.
"Only the tuition fee will be charged from the students on a monthly basis. Schools cannot ask for three months' fees at a time. And online classes facilities won't be stopped or terminated by private schools for the students, even though they fail to pay their fees. All students will have access to online learning facilities provided by their individual schools, even if they fail to pay the schooling fee."
Stressing that the order was issued in compliance with the National Disaster Management Act and therefore the Delhi School Education Act, Sisodia advised the private schools to take it seriously.
He also asked the faculties to release full salaries of their employees on time.
"All schools are directed to release full salaries of their staff on time including teaching and non-teaching staff. The order is applied to every permanent, contractual and outsourced employees of the schools. Those schools which aren't complying with this order are going to be booked under the Delhi School Education Act and National Disaster Management Act."