In response to the Supreme Court (SC) direction for private-unaided schools to reduce fees by 15 per cent in lieu of unutilised facilities by students due to shift to online education, the Maharashtra English School Trustee Association (MESTA) said schools need fees to survive and sustain. On the other hand, parents of students studying in private-unaided schools have demanded a 50 per cent reduction in fees on account of unutilised facilities during the last academic year 2020-21.
Sanjayrao Tayade Patil, President of MESTA, said, "Schools have addressed the issue of reduction in costs and revised fees last year but they are under immense financial distress and are on a brink of closure leading to unemployment of many stakeholders. Parents should realise the efforts and pains taken by teachers during the lockdown."
On the other hand, parents said schools should reduce fees because they have saved on certain costs in the last academic year. Falguni Vartak, a parent said, "Private-unaided schools charge exorbitant fees for services such as library, laboratory, playgrounds, canteen and bus facilities which have not been used by students due to the shift to online education. Also, we have faced loss of employment and salary cuts due to the pandemic. Schools should reduce fees to ease the burden."
Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said, "The Supreme Court (SC) order is applicable to all private-unaided schools of India. We have demanded for 50 per cent reduction in school fees as schools have saved 50 per cent costs. Also, contracts of many teachers have not been renewed and teachers are facing salary cuts."
Patil said, "Teachers have gone beyond the call of duty during the pandemic but are facing massive pay cuts due to non-payment of fees. It is imperative that the state government should allow schools to maintain their autonomy to function and reach an amicable solution with concerned stakeholders."