– Sukanya Nandy
The Gujarat education department had issued a Government Resolution (GR) on October 7, 2020, notifying a 25 percent reduction in fee in private schools for the current academic session across all boards along with fee waiver for co-curricular activities. Education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama had stated that parents need to pay 50 percent of the fee till October 31 to avail the 25 percent relief.
The state government further asked schools to extend relief to parents who are not able to pay the fee. The GR states, “The parents who are not able to pay the fee can meet the school management, which can take a decision with a human approach.”
This has led to a chain of private schools in Ahmedabad — Udgam School, Zebar School, Satellite School and Bodakdev School to effect upto 15 percent deduction in teachers’ salaries.
Manan Choksi, executive director of the Udgam School, who also manages the CBSE-affiliated Zebar School, Bodakdev and Satellite tells EducationWorld, “As per the government circular, we have already reduced the school fees by 25 percent because of Fee Regulation Committee (FRC). Plus, there is no deadline for collection of the fee as the government said that we cannot force any parent to pay the fee. We do not have money to pay salaries to the teachers and had to take loans from banks which has put additional cost burden on the school. The government further stated not to increase the school fee and collect only the tuition fee and has barred from taking fees for transport, canteen or any other activities. All these have fixed expenses. Now, since there are fixed expenses and no income, hence, we had no choice but to reduce the teachers’ salaries .”
A statement from the school management says, “We had anticipated a reduction of 15 per cent in annual fees and had planned our expenditure through the year. However, 25 per cent reduction in fees suggested by the government has forced us to take unprecedented steps for cost-saving for the survival of schools. Thus, a blanket reduction of 10 per cent in gross salary and an additional five per cent reduction for those who are getting a gross salary of Rs 35,000 has been decided. We have explored all avenues of cost-cutting and hence, instead of 30 per cent loss, we have been able to reduce the impact by 50 per cent on the teachers’ income.”
“We were occupied coping with challenges of the new era of education and the government came out with a GR of a blanket 25 per cent reduction in fees. After the FRC came into existence, schools have not been allowed a surplus as high as 25 per cent. Moreover, the government also informed us to not increase five per cent fees as suggested by the FRC earlier. There is a loss of 30 per cent in the current academic year’s fees collection. There is an increase in losses due to fixed costs of transport and optional activities, since no amount is to be charged from parents,” the statement further said.News, States