Swami Janaki Das Vidyapith

Poor parents in remote school set example, pay full fees during pandemic

December 2, 2020
– Mita Mukherjee

Nearly 80 percent students, all first generation learners and children of poor farmers and migrant workers of an ICSE school in a remote village in East Burdwan district of West Bengal have paid the fees regularly amid the pandemic, according to officials of the school.

At a time when students’ fees are due since April in several reputable private schools in Kolkata and urban areas in West Bengal and the institutions are struggling to convince unwilling parents to clear the dues, the authorities of Swami Janaki Das Vidyapith a newly set up ICSE school run by a philanthropic organization in Natungram village, 180 km from Kolkata had hardly faced any difficulty in collecting students fees.       

The monthly income of the guardians of the 350 odd students is between Rs 3000 and Rs 5000.They have either never received formal education or had studied only till the pre-primary level, officials of the school said.

The school charges Rs 500 per month as tuition fees from students till Class IV. The monthly fee for classes V to IX is Rs 600.

Amal Biswas, the secretary of Swami Janaki Das Vidyapith said all the guardians of the school were “ poor” but they would never indulge in delaying the payment of fees.

“Our fees are less than the ICSE schools in the cities. But nearly 80 per cent of our guardians would pay the fees within the last date every month. They paid the fees regularly even during the pandemic,” Biswas told EducationWorld.

He said the remaining 20 per cent would not default intentionally.

“Around 15 per cent of the guardians would delay the payment only when they have no income at all. But they would often clear the dues when they start earning. The remaining five per cent guardians are extremely poor. Sometimes they have no earning at all for several months together when we have to offer them full waiver,” Biswas said.    

The school set up by  Swami Janaki Das Model Education Trust in 2010, runs till Class IX at present as it got provisional affiliation from the Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) only in May this year. Nine students who were promoted to Class IX this year have been registered with the CISCE in August.  They will be the first batch of students to appear in the ICSE examination in 2022.    

Calcutta High Court had recently ordered private schools to waive 20 per cent tuition fees from April to one month after the schools resumed on-campus classes.

The court order does not apply to Swami Janaki Das Vidyapith because according to the order the concession does not apply  to schools where the monthly fee is below Rs 800. But the court order had also said that the schools can voluntarily offer discount as they deem fit.

Ramendra Nath Majhi, principal of the school said despite social and financial backwardness, their guardians were extremely keen to educate their wards under the ICSE curriculum in which the medium of instruction is only English.

“Sometimes our teachers have to work for extra hours to improve the English speaking skills of the students,” said Ramendra Nath Majhi.

Swami Prajna Das Ji Maharaj Kathiya Baba had set up the institution to offer an opportunity to rural disadvantaged people to avail of English medium education at par with the top schools in the cities.

Also read: 

Gujarat: Private schools to act against parents unwilling to pay fees

Mumbai: Private company promises discount in fees, several parents complain

Bangalore private schools block online classes of students unable to pay fees

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