The latest directions of the Punjab education secretary Anjali Bhawra regarding waiving off fee of girl students of Classes 9 to 12 in government schools has left schoolheads hassled.
The education secretary earlier on April 1 had directed the schools to collect fee from all girl students, before the admission process started.
Therefore, the schoolheads collected fee from girl students enrolling in Classes 9 to 12. However, Bhawra's new directions have not specified the steps to be taken in case the fee has already been collected.
The latest directions have been issued to heads of government schools and district education officers (secondary and elementary) of all districts in the state.
As per the latest directions, 30% girl students should be provided a fee waiver in rural areas, while the number is 20% in urban area.
The directions also state that girl students don't need to pay fee if they belong to a below-poverty line family, or if their father is dead, a farmer or landless.
Anoop Kumar Passi, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Isewal, said, “We started the admission process on April 1, and took fee from all girls students of Classes 9 to 12 as per the earlier directions sent by the state education secretary. But, the new directions have put us in a fix, as there is no mention in them if the fee has to be returned to students.”
Another government school principal, requesting anonymity, said, “The authorities must send clear directions in the first go, as it is sheer waste of time to first collect the fee and then return it. If teachers continue to be deputed for the admission process, it will affect the students' classes.”
When contacted, Punjab education secretary Anjali Bhawra said, “If the girl students fall in the three given categories, the schoolheads will have to refund their fee. We will clarify this in another letter to the schoolheads and district education officers (secondary and elementary).”