On Wednesday, November 18, the Madras High Court allowed private schools and colleges in Tamil Nadu to collect 35 percent of the annual fee for the academic year 2020-21 in addition to the 40 percent fee already permitted to be collected by the court previously.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh passed the order on a plea after observing that schools are unlikely to reopen by the end of this year and allowed the schools to collect 35 percent apart from 40 percent already permitted by the court.
On July 17 this year, the High Court had permitted school managements in the state to collect 75 percent of the fees collected in the previous academic year, as fees for 2020-21. Of this, 40 per cent could be collected as advance fees on or before August 31, and the remaining shall be collected within two months from the date of reopening and commencement of physical classes, the order had said. The court had later extended the deadline for payment of the 40 per cent fees from August 31 to September 30.
The court passed the directions on the batch of pleas filed by the private educational institutions challenging the state government’s order restraining them from demanding fees during the lockdown.
The court also granted time till February 28, 2021, for the parents to pay the balance 35 percent fees. The court has also granted liberty to the educational institutions to collect 35 percent in installments by issuing an appropriate circular.
The court, while passing the orders, also directed the authorities to conduct inquiries and initiate appropriate action against institutions that were allegedly demanding full fee payment in violation of the court order.
The court order drew mixed reactions from schools and parents. S Arumainathan, president, Tamil Nadu Students Parents Welfare Association, said, “Till the classes are conducted online, it is not fair to collect 75 percent of the fees. For the school, there are no infrastructure costs at all currently. In turn, parents are paying internet charges and buying mobile phones and laptops for their children to attend online classes. We recommend the schools to collect 50 percent of the fee in two or three installments.”
However, private school managements were relieved by the order. “We welcome Madras High Court’s order, but the issue is a lot of people have not even paid 40 percent of the fees. Due to this, teachers are not being paid. Most of the schools are run after taking loans and now all of them are in a lurch.
“The government must first mandate and put pressure on the payment of the 40 percent of the fees,” said KR Nandakumar, general secretary, TN Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and CBSE Schools Association.
Source: The New Indian ExpressNews, States