Appreciating the efforts of teachers and private schools in providing online education to children, the Delhi High Court refused to direct private schools not to charge tuition fees during the national lockdown period. The bench led by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar ruled that private schools can charge and collect tuition fee from parents/students on a monthly basis during the lockdown.
The high court noted that the effort in physically teaching students, in a regular classroom, cannot even remotely be compared with the effort that the teacher has to expend, in providing online education. “It is a matter of common knowledge that, in doing so, the effort required to be put in, by the teacher, and the strain to which the teacher subjects herself, or himself, is tremendous, and the efforts of teachers – referred to, often, as the noblest among all noble professions – require to be commended in the highest terms. We unhesitatingly place, on record, our wholehearted appreciation, of the efforts of teachers, and schools, towards this end,” ruled the judges.
The bench in its 21-page order said, “The expenditure involved in disseminating education online may, conceivably, be much greater than that involved in classroom teaching. Providing e-education is no child’s play, and involves the requirement of extensive infrastructural adjustments, including all incidental expenses in arranging access to online platforms, over which education could be provided, and in actually providing such education. To suggest that, having made all these arrangements, schools should not be permitted to charge tuition fees, would be bordering on absurdity.”
The judgement was in response to a petition filed by advocate Prashant Kumar requesting the court to pass an order directing private schools not to charge tuition fee from parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Excerpts from the judgement
- No fee, except Tuition fee, shall be charged from the parents, till further orders.
- Heads of the schools shall not demand and collect the Tuition fee from the parents/students on quarterly basis. The fee shall be collected on monthly basis only.
III. Not to increase any fee in the academic session 2020-21 till further directions.
- The schools running on the land allotted by the DDA/Other Land Owning Agencies with the condition to seek approval of Director (Education) before any fee increase, shall collect the tuition fee on the basis of last fee structure approved by Director (Education) or as per fee statement filed by them under 17(3) of DSEAR, 1973 during academic session 2015-16.
- Shall ensure to provide the access of Online Education/materials/classes to all students, without any discrimination, by providing them ID and Password immediately to get them online education facility.
- Heads of the schools shall, in no case, deny ID & Password to those students/parents for getting online access of educational facilities/classes/materials etc. to those students who are unable to pay the school fee due to financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities in the ongoing lockdown condition.
VII. Managing Committee of the schools/heads of the school shall not put extra financial burden by creating any new head of fee.
VIII. Shall neither stop payment of monthly salary nor reduce the existing total emolument to the teaching and non-teaching staff of their schools in the name of non-availability of funds and arrange the funds in case of any shortfalls from the Society/Trust running the school.
Also read: Covid-19 fees waiver: Private Schools SOSPosted in News, States