Delhi govt warns private schools against charging anything other than tuition fee
The Delhi government on Monday again warned all private schools in the city against charging parents anything other than tuition fees during the lockdown and directed them to immediately refund or adjust money in case they have collected any other payment from parents in the period.
The Directorate of Education’s (DoE) order is in continuation of its April 18 notification that said private schools would charge only tuition fee until the lockdown was in effect -- a move that made parents happy but upset schools.
Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia tweeted saying, “Arvind Kejriwal’s government’s big decision in the interest of parents of private school students. Private schools have been directed not to change fee under any other components other than tuition fees. Schools will have to adjust the money in the coming months in case they have already collected additional fees from parents.”
In an order issued to all private schools on Monday, the DoE said they had received a number of complaints, not only from parents but also from other quarters, alleging that many private unaided recognised schools of Delhi had started charging the fees under many other heads other than the tuition such as like annual charge, development charge, etc.
The DOE said this was in “contravention to the directions issued by Directorate of Education vide order dated 17/04/2020 & subsequently dated 18/04/2020”. “Such act of the schools is not only in the clear violation of the above directions issued vide order dated: 17/04/2020 & subsequently dated 18/04/2020 but also an inhumane act on their part, keeping in view the prevailing Covid-2019 pandemic conditions and long closure of schools.”
The directorate said it received several representations from private schools, saying the “lockdown period was over” and now they could charge fee under all heads -- tuition, annual charge, development fee and some earmarked levies also.
“This position as claimed by Private Unaided Recognised Schools is not correct as unlocking stage is still going on in a phased manner and hence, complete lockdown is yet to be over and schools are yet to be open for physical classroom learning,” the DoE order stated.
The DoE has warned schools that action under Section 24 of the Delhi School Education Act and Rules would be taken against them in case of non-compliance. It said, “...The schools will not increase any fee in the academic session 2020-21 till further directions,” the order said.
“If any private unaided recognised school has charged fees/amount other than the tuition fees in contravention of order dated 18/04/2020, the same shall be refunded or adjusted immediately,” it added.
The DoE asked schools not to deny access to online education to students who are unable to pay school fee due to the financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities during the lockdown. They have also been directed to give timely salaries to their staff.
Parents welcomed the fresh order while private schools termed it as “injustice”. SK Bhattacharya, president of the Action Committee of Private Unaided Recognised Schools -- an umbrella group of 400 schools -- said, “How will schools survive without money? From where we will pay salaries to teachers? The annual charges and development fee are necessary to meet necessary expenses such as property tax, maintenance and also pay salary to the staff since tuition fee is not adequate. This is absolutely injustice with private schools.”
Aparajitha Gautam, president of Delhi parents Association, said the order is a big relief for parents. “We have been receiving a lot of complaints from parents against schools. The government should ensure the schools follow the order. Many schools have already violated the April 18 order by charging money under other components than the tuition fee and increasing fee.The government should take action against such schools as well,” she said.