Parents are not too happy with the idea of the fee hike this or next year given the Covid situation.(Shutterstock/For representational purposes)
Parents are not too happy with the idea of the fee hike this or next year given the Covid situation.(Shutterstock/For representational purposes)

Private schools agree to 8% fee hike, UT admin to take final call

Wanted to go for 16% hike earlier as no additional fee was charged this year due to the Covid lockdown. Parents, however, are not willing to pay
By Rajanbir Singh | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2020 11:15 PM IST

Even as private schools have been urging the Chandigarh administration to allow them to go in for a 16% fee hike in the 2021-22 session as the regular hike of 8% was not permitted this year due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Independent Schools Association (ISA) has announced it will ask private schools to go stick to an 8% increase next year according to the Fee Regulation Act 2016.

The administration, however, will take a final call on the matter.

“We had a meeting with the UT education secretary and the UT director of school education (DSE) on Thursday after which we have decided that instead of our previous demand to hike school fees by 16% this year, we will settle for 8% as per the provisions of the Fee Regulation Act,” said HS Mamik, ISA president.

Parents not convinced

Parents’ associations, however, are not convinced. “It is very unfortunate that schools want to increase their fees after the year everyone’s had. School expenditure on electricity and water have gone down. They haven’t been paying their bus drivers and their maintenance staff, so why the need for a hike? Due to online classes parents’ expenditure has gone up. Many parents had to buy phones and high speed internet connections. Schools need to cut them some slack,” said Nitin Goyal, president of the Chandigarh Parents’ Association.

A principal wishing to remain anonymous said fee hikes were necessary as many schools had slashed teachers’ salaries and their arrears during the lockdown period had not been cleared. “A fee hike according to regulations is needed,” he said.

The ISA will hold another meeting with the authorities in the next 10 days to discuss other issues that include making NCERT books mandatory for students and the EWS reimbursement,allegedly not paid for the last nine years. “The fee hike issue from our end has been resolved and we will ask the other 75 schools which are a part of the ISA to settle for a hike of up to 8%,” said Mamik.

Admin to take final call

Commenting on the matter, Rubinderjit Singh Brar, DSE, said, “After detailed discussions with the ISA we have put forward suggestions to the senior officers of the administration. They will take the final call.”

Private unaided schools that aren’t a part of the association are likely to follow the ISA’s directions.

Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High School in Sector 26, said, “This is a decision that will be taken by the management of the school. However, we will be complying with the regulations and not hike the fee by more than 8%.”

Anuja Sharma, principal of DAV Model School in Sector 15, said her school hiked the fee by a bare minimum even before the Covid-19 outbreak. “This year also the bare minimum has been done for the running costs of the school.”

In June this year the Chandigarh administration had used provisions of Disaster Management Act to not allow private unaided schools to hike the fees by 8%.

Parents were asked to only pay the tuition fees according to the 2019-2020 session guidelines. The ISA had then asked for a clarification from the education department if the pending 8% could be ‘adjusted’ later.

Schools had earlier challenged the administration in the Punjab and Haryana high court for stopping them from imposing the fee hike. The matter is pending.

Meanwhile, the admission process for entry level classes in schools has started and will continue till December 16. Most schools have not put up their fee details yet on their websites.

DSE Brar said that since the matter had not been sorted out, schools did not have to upload details as yet.

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