Mumbai: Congress party, which shares power with Shiv Sena and NCP in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Tuesday has made a formal demand with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and School Education Minister Vashra Gaikwad to reduce school fees by 50%. The party has cited that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted lower and middle class adversely and they are facing a major financial crisis. On top of it, the schools are exerting pressure on parents for the payment of fees but they are not able to pay it because of precarious financial conditions.
Former minister Nasem Khan, who is the working president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, in letters to Thackeray and Gaikwad has made a case for the reduction of school fees by 50% and the parents should be allowed to pay balance fees in instalments.
“All schools in the state have been closed for the last one and a half years and online classes are conducted as per the government order. However, parents are being told to make full payment of fees by the school administrations and directors. If schools are forcibly recovering fees, then the state government should initiate action against them to give much-needed relief to students and parents,’’ said Khan. He added that the government should see that the students will not be harmed considering the financial condition of the parents.
Khan’s appeal came days after BJP legislator Ashish Shelar’s demand for a 20% reduction in private school fees, no salary cuts for school staff and payment in four instalments by the parents.
Shelar, who is a former minister of school education, in a letter to Gaikwad, said the government needs to ensure that school teachers and staff are not burdened with any salary cut by the school management. Parents should be allowed to pay school fees in four instalments.
‘’Last year private schools have reduced teachers and staff salaries, although the Maharashtra Government did not levy any school fee cut last year. The schools benefited from substantial savings in power, water, maintenance, establishment charges as schools remained shut, which were not passed on to the staff or students,’’ said Shelar.