Private school managements in Punjab can breathe a sigh of relief as the High Court of Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday permitted them to collect tuition and admission fees.The HC bench led by Justice Nirmajlit Kaur ruled that private schools are entitled to collect tuition fee irrespective of whether they offered online classes during the lockdown period or not.
Jagdish Rai Sharma, founder president of Punjab Affiliated Recognised Schools Association (PARSA), is elated with the ruling. “Many parents believe private institutions extort money but they do not realise that we have actually improved the quality of education in the country. If they do not pay fees, we will be forced to shut our institutions,” he says.
The court stated that the decision not to increase fees itself is a big relief and heavy concession to parents. However, it clarified that parents cannot be compelled to pay the fees and the name of a child cannot be struck off if a parent has been unable to deposit fees. The court order states, “Any parent not able to pay the school fee may file their application along with necessary proof about their financial status, which shall be looked into by the school authority and, decide sympathetically to either give concession or exempt the entire fee. In case the parent is still aggrieved, in any manner, with an adverse decision by the school on his application, he may approach the regulatory body.”
Private school managements in the state are more than willing to cooperate and mutually discuss and resolve the fees imbroglio with parents. Comments Kulvir Chand, Punjab coordinator of National Independent School Alliance (NISA): “We are in talks with our member schools and understand that parents are facing economic hardship. We need cooperation from parents as it is still uncertain when we would get back to normalcy with the spike in the coronavirus cases. We are happy to work with parents and provide support to them.”
On May 14, the High Court had allowed private schools in Punjab to charge 70 percent tuition fee and admission fee in two installments for the academic year 2020-21 as an interim measure. But it led to protests by several parents across the state.News, States