Maharashtra education dept to refund only 21% of board exam fees | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra education dept to refund only 21% of board exam fees

By, Mumbai
Nov 12, 2021 11:42 PM IST

Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) will refund only 20.85% of the nearly ₹104 crore collected as exam fees from approximately 2.9 million secondary school certificate (SSC, Class 10) and higher secondary certificate (HSC, Class 12) students for academic year 2020-21

Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) will refund only 20.85% of the nearly 104 crore collected as exam fees from approximately 2.9 million secondary school certificate (SSC, Class 10) and higher secondary certificate (HSC, Class 12) students for academic year 2020-21. The Bombay high court on July 29 this year directed the state government to consider refunding exam fees after board exams were cancelled on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision to refund the exam fees was notified by Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education on November 11, three and a half months after a July 29 order by Bombay high court asking the state government to consider returning students’ money. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The decision to refund the exam fees was notified by Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education on November 11, three and a half months after a July 29 order by Bombay high court asking the state government to consider returning students’ money. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

SSC students paid 315 each as exam fee, of which the board will refund 59, or 18.73% of the original fees. Similarly, HSC students paid 415 each, but the board plans to return 94, or 22.65%.

The decision to refund the fees was notified by MSBSHSE on November 11, three and a half months after a July 29 order by Bombay high court asking the state government to consider returning students’ money. A senior state education board official said that while no board exams were conducted in 2021, the state board was asked to prepare for a common entrance test (CET) for all class 10 students aiming for seats in first year junior college (FYJC).

“Even though eventually the CET was also scrapped, the state board had already invested in the software as well as paid for exam papers to be set in advance. We had to pay for work already done which was deducted from the exam fees paid by the students. The remaining fund is being disbursed to students,” the senior official said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The notification states, “Both SSC and HSC exams were scrapped this year due to increasing Covid-19 cases. Following the Bombay HC order, the state board has decided to refund exam fee amount to respective students.” It adds that to get the money, students will have to visit mahahsscboard.in and fill in information of individual students on the provided links on the website starting Friday, November 12.

In July, a retired school principal from Sangli district filed a petition in the Bombay HC questioning the state board’s decision to not refund exam fees to students. The petitioner had highlighted how like every year, MSBSHSE charged exam fees from 1.575 million SSC and 1.319 million HSC students in the 2020-21 academic year. This amounts to around 104 crore, which the petition highlighted should be returned to students as no exam was held.

“The exam fee is charged to cover charges for paper setters, invigilators, paper assessment, transportation of question-and-answer booklets, printing costs, etc. No such activity was undertaken in 2021 due to the initial delay and eventual scrapping of exams. Therefore, there is no need for the state board to retain such a large sum of money,” said a Mumbai teacher who is also part of a teaching and non-teaching staff union in the city.

Activist and parent Manisha Pawar said, “This is a joke. No exam was conducted, and even the online CET was not confirmed. For the state board to claim they’ve invested money on this cannot be believed. The board should be held for contempt of court for not following the Bombay HC orders in true spirit.”

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