At a time when the pandemic has literally made people penniless, private school managements and moneylenders are forcing parents to take loans and pay the fees. Private school management in Karnataka have ruled out any reduction in school fees for the 2021-22 academic year, but say they would accommodate payments in multiple instalments.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar lamented the same on Sunday. “A few private school managements have roped in moneylenders to extend loans to parents so that they could pay school fees. It’s a shame that some schools have gotten into this business. I have received several complaints in this regard. This is indeed a disturbing development,” the ministers told reporters.
This unfortunate development has angered Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. The chief minister has said that notices would be served on such errant schools, the education minister added.
The education minister further said, “On the one hand many parents are facing financial crisis, on the other hand private schools are finding it tough to pay their teaching and non-teaching staff. There is a need to balance both the issues. A few private schools have approached the court over the 70 per cent fee cap fixed by the government last year. The situation is no different this year. School managements and parents should talk and settle the issue.”
Representatives of the Karnataka Private School Managements, Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff Coordination Committee (KPMTCC) explained a decrease in enrolment and non-payment of fees from the previous academic year.
“Unaided private schools are already reeling under heavy losses. The 70% fee cap order by the State government was only for the last academic year and does not apply for this year,” said Shashi Kumar, convenor of KPMTCC. He added that they had also challenged the 70% cap order in court.
“There is a drop of about 20% in new admissions and over 40% of the students have fee dues from last year. Moreover, the State government has not cleared the RTE refund of about ₹700 crore in the State, adding to our woes. In this situation, there is no way we can reduce the school fee this academic year,” said Mr. Kumar.
“How do we give admissions to students who have not paid their fee for the last year? When pressed for the fee dues, many parents are seeking transfer certificates. Is it fair to leave the school after taking service for a year and not paying for it? There are many High Court orders that allow us to withhold the results of such students. The government should sort out this issue soon,” Mr. Kumar said.News, States