Breaking the stalemate between private schools and parents over fees payable for the academic year 2020-21, the Kerala High Court on February 9 ordered the state’s private unaided schools to provide a 20 percent discount on total fees payable for this academic year.
Hearing a batch of petitions filed by several schools and parents, a one-judge bench headed by Justice Devan Ramachandran allowed schools to charge fees “in the manner as recorded in the individual cases” on condition that they grant a discount of 20 percent to every student on the entire fee for the year 2020-21.
The court also clarified that to avail the fee discount, parents must pay the second term fee on or before February 26, 2021 and the balance on or before March 31, 2021. If parents fail to pay the fees in accordance with the specified schedule, they will have to forego the discount and the schools can recover the full proposed fee from them “in terms of law”.
The court said that these fees payment directions have been issued in view of the singular circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore, that it will apply only to the academic year 2020-2021 and no other.
Both private schools and parents associations in Kerala have welcomed the judgement for taking into consideration the pain suffered by both parents and school managements.
Earlier in November last year, the Kerala High Court had directed the CBSE to issue circulars to all its affiliated schools to charge fees based on the actual expenses incurred by them in the 2020-21 academic year. However, with the CBSE board expressing its inability to implement the court’s directive, the private schools were using their own discretion to levy fees.
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