Principals set up funds, manage donations to help students pay board exam feeUpdated: Sep 28, 2020, 23:23 IST
New Delhi: With the deadline to submit the fees for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board exams nearing, principals of various Delhi government schools have expedited their efforts to help poor students arrange money to pay the fee.
The students have to submit the fee before October 15, the deadline for the schools to upload the complete list of candidates appearing for class 10 and 12 board exams.
“Several parents are concerned over paying the fee. Loss of jobs and businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many of them to arrange the money. We have set up a fund of Rs 15,000 to help students who won’t be able to pay the examination fee this time. The amount may increase or decrease based on the needs of the students,” said Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Rohini Sector-8.
Jha said he has been holding digital parent-teacher meetings to discuss the issue with parents.
Last year, after the CBSE hiked the board examination fee, the Delhi government announced that it would pay the fee for over 3.14 lakh Class 10 and 12 students in government schools. However, this year, the education department asked its heads of schools to follow the “2018-19 status”, meaning the fee had to be paid by the students.
A senior official in Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia’s office said, “We have written to the CBSE, requesting them to waive off the exam fee for the current academic year due to the economic slowdown arising out of the pandemic. The government also lacks funds because of the major shortfall in revenue collection.”
CBSE controller of examination Sanyam Bhardwaj said the board had not received any letter from the Delhi government so far. “We are a self-financing board. The expenditure over conducting exams is likely to increase this time. It is anyway a challenge to conduct the exams using the current exam fee,” he said when asked if the board was contemplating a fee waiver.
On Monday, the Delhi government also told the Delhi high court that it had written to CBSE asking for an exam fee waiver due to the pandemic. The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Ashok Aggarwal of NGO Social Jurist seeking a waiver of the exam fee. The court has asked the state government and CBSE to treat the petition as representation and take a decision within three weeks.
Last year, the examination fee of class 10 and 12 students belonging to the general category in Delhi government schools was increased from ₹375 and ₹600, respectively, to ₹1,500 for five subjects. For SC/ST candidates in class 10, the examination fee was increased from ₹375 to ₹1,200 and for class 12, from ₹600 to ₹1200 in Delhi government and government-aided schools. If practical and additional or optional subjects are to be taken into account, the fee comes to around Rs 2,750 for class 12 students and to Rs 1500 for class 10 students.
Bijesh Kumar Sharma, principal of Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Lajpat Nagar, said, “Based on the number of requests we receive from students and parents, we will rope in school management committee members and alumni to look for donors who may help these students.”
Several principals HT spoke to said they were planning to use the school’s People Welfare Fund (PWF) to help needy students.
Mary Jyotsna Minj, principal of the Government Girls Senior Secondary School in New Kondli, is worried since her school has over 700 students in class 10 and more than 650 in class 12. “Many parents are worried about how they will pay the examination fee. If a parent has two children in class 12, they have to pay around ₹5,000 which is extremely difficult for many. We are planning to use PWF to help these students. We are screening their applications to ensure that only genuine cases receive help,” she said.