‘Don't let schools hike fees during pandemic’: Parents request Maharashtra govt

Parents have requested the state government to direct private unaided schools to not hike the fees for this academic year due to the pandemic crisis. In addition, parents have stated that they should be allowed to pay fees in instalments as many of them are facing a financial crisis.

Parents claim their children are being barred by school authorities from attending online classes if they are unable to pay the fees.

Geetanjali Nerulkar, a parent, said, "I have been facing pay-cuts since the last four months. I understand I need to pay fees to avail education but schools should give certain relaxations considering the financial crisis. Monthly instalments and deferment of payment of fees should be allowed."

If schools are not flexible with payment of fees, it will force us to shift our kids from private schools to state-run schools, said Hemant Chopra, a parent. Chopra said, "We are aware schools are providing online teaching which comes with a cost. But if our kids are deprived of these classes due to non-payment of fees then we will have no option but to shift them to state-run schools. We do not want our children to waste this academic year."

On the other hand, some private unaided schools state they have given parents multiple options to pay fees along with certain relaxations. An owner of a chain of private unaided schools on request of anonymity said, "Some budget schools have given various options to parents to pay fees in instalments or even defer the payment by few months. Parents should also realise schools need funds to provide basic education facilities, pay salaries of teachers, staff and manage infrastructure. Without funds, schools will be unable to manage daily functioning."

On May 8, the state issued a government resolution (GR) that schools should not hike fees for the current academic year and allow parents to pay fees in instalments. But later on June 26, the GR was stayed by the Bombay High Court (HC) when a petition was filed by various organisations of private school owners. Recently, over 30 parents have filed intervention applications before the HC in support of the GR. The next hearing is on August 20.

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Free Press Journal