After two prominent Kolkata schools introduced ‘Covid expenses’ in their revised fee structures, more schools indicated they were considering a similar move. As per sources, a meeting was held within a prominent Christian order in the city recently that runs two of the city’s most prestigious schools. The meeting was held over the necessity of introducing a “Covid fee”.
The two schools, which had announced the addition of Covid fee head had uploaded the same on their websites, along with the declaration of the 20 percent fee waiver, as per an order by the Calcutta High Court. Both the schools mentioned that every student would be charged Rs 500 for the expenditure the institutes were incurring during the pandemic. The notices at the two schools stated that the reason behind charging the extra fees were for online platforms and sanitisation.
The Christian order reportedly held a meeting of the school heads to discuss whether the Covid charge would remain or a review needed to be done. One school head indicated, “The Covid head remains as on date, but we are doing a review.”
Archbishop Thomas D Souza, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Kolkata, said the six schools that the archdiocese ran, had given 20 percent fee waiver on tuition fees following court orders. He added that though he had not introduced Covid expenses in the fee structure yet, there was no denying schools were incurring the essential expenses now.
“Christian schools already give a lot of waivers to students who cannot afford fees and these are beyond what was stipulated by the court. So, a flat 20 percent concession will affect those who have been given more waivers,” Father D Souza said.
Supriyo Dhar, secretary at La Martiniere Schools, said, “Covid expenses are part of our account books now and we are spending a lot of money on sanitisation, given our huge campus size. But we have not yet passed it on to fees.”
Christian schools (non-CNI) are uniting under West Bengal Association of Christian Schools to file an appeal in the Supreme Court this week, citing protection of the rights of minority schools and non-interference from outside. Some orders, like Loreto and Christian Brothers are not likely to join. CNI has also filed an appeal in the SC, and some Methodist schools and Calcutta Girls’ have joined them in this.
Source: Times of India
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