Maha state board to refund exam fees of 2021 class 10 and 12 board students
The Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) late Thursday released a notification stating that it will refund the examination fee collected from class 10 and 12 students for the purpose of board exams in February-March 2021.
This move comes nearly three months after a Bombay high court direction to do so and after activists questioned why the state board has not returned ₹150 crore charged from nearly 34 lakh SSC and HSC students in a year when board exams across states and education boards were cancelled due to Covid-19.
"Both the 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," states the notification made public by the MSBSHSE on Thursday. It further mentions that to do so, students will have to log on to mahagsscboard.in and fill in information of individual students on the provided links on the website starting November 12.
In July this year, a retired school principal from Sangli district had 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 ₹415 each from nearly 17 lakh SSC students and ₹520 each from nearly 16 lakh HSC students in the 2020-21 academic year. This roughly accounts for ₹150 crore, which the petition highlighted should be returned to respective students since 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. None of these activities were undertaken in 2021 due to the initial delay and eventual scrapping of exams so there is no need for the state board to sit on such a large sum of money," said a city based teacher, who is part of a teaching and non-teaching staff union in Mumbai. Schools, parents, students as well as activists from across the state have been demanding for exam fee refund since May this year, but the final notification on this issue was released on November 11 by the state board.