Private schools in Karnataka on Thursday, September 16, won a court battle against the state government in the reduction of school fees during the pandemic. The court ruled that the reduction should be 15% against the state government order of 30%. This is in lieu of the unused facilities/activities by students during the academic year 2020-2021.
Regardless of this, schools can give further concession or evolve different ways to provide concession.
“The school management shall not debar any student from attending either online classes or physical classes on account of non-payment of fees, arrears/outstanding fees including instalments,” the court ruled. Results of students who haven’t paid the fees cannot be withheld too.
“We welcome this order. We had accepted the state government order too of reducing the fee by 30%. Some parents in rural areas had paid as low as 50% fee. What we want is a permanent solution in this issue,” said Lokesh Talikatte, president, registered unaided private school managements association.
The schools have also been asked to sympathetically consider on a case by case basis the request of parents who are unable to remit the fees.
In January this year, the state government had directed all private schools to collect only 70% of the tuition fee as there were no offline classes from June to December 2020.
The Primary and Secondary Education Department had also asked schools not to collect any other fees including transportation, special amenities fees development fees. The schools were also directed to refund 30% if the fee was already collected in full or adjust it with the next academic year.
While parents welcomed the move, private school management approached the high court against the decision.
The issue has been a bone of contention between parents and schools as parents found it difficult to pay fee in full due to financial difficulties due to the pandemic while schools claim they are unable to pay salaries of teaching and non teaching staff without fees from the students.
Thursday’s order will not affect the collection of fee for the academic year 2021-2022.