Mumbai: Forum for Fairness in Education files PIL demanding 50% reduction of school fees

The Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for education, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court (HC) demanding 50 per cent reduction in school fees. Parents of students studying in private-unaided schools said fees should be reduced to relax the financial burden as they have lost jobs due to Covid-19 situation.

The PIL has been filed by FFE following support from parents. Parents said school fees of the academic year 2020-21 and 2021-22 should be reduced by 50 per cent. A parent on request of anonymity said, "My son is studying in a private-unaided school at Andheri. Since the last one year, my son has not used any facilities such as offline library, laboratory, playground, canteen or bus services of the school. The additional fees for these services should not be charged because students have not used them."

Jayant Jain, president of FFE said, "In the PIL, we have demanded minimum 50 per cent reduction in tuition fees as schools have saved expenditure on offline services due to shift to online classes. Also, unjustified fees collected by schools towards unutilised services should be waived off completely. No child should be debarred, detained or removed from school because their parents are unable to pay total amount of fees."

Recently, the state school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said schools that pressurise parents of students to pay fees or threaten to expel students from the school will be derecognised. A strict inquiry will be initiated and action will be taken against such schools which use illegal means and deny access to online education to students on non-payment of fees.

In addition, the state school education department has created Divisional Fee Regulatory Committees (DFRCs) in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad division.

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