– Amrita Ghosh
The recommendation of school fee reduction by 25-30 percent for the current academic year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic has led a section of teachers in Bengaluru to file a petition on change.org as it would directly impact their salaries.
According to the petition, introducing a compulsory cut in school fee would have implications on the salaries and employment of teachers, especially in unaided schools. It strongly criticizes the government for ignoring the interest of teachers, students and education, having banned private schools from collecting any fee at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as banning online learning upto Grade 5.
Nooraine Fazal, CEO of Inventure Academy terms the move as “disastrous”, primarily because of its odd timing. “We are at the end of the academic year and I don’t know how we are supposed to, in retrospect, refund 30 percent of fees because we have already incurred expenditures on the basis of certain revenue,” she says.
“The state government should step in to provide financial assistance to schools to pay teachers’ salaries, especially unaided budget schools with limited fee collection,” Fazal adds.
A detailed ‘Fee Advisory’ issued by the Associated Management of Primary and Secondary School (KAMS), which has close to 4,000 members, has requested schools to allow more time to parents to pay students’ fees. D Shashi Kumar, general secretary of KAMS says, “Every school has to look into the larger interest of parents and offer some relaxations. We have suggested that term fees and special development fees can be completely waived off because no activity has taken place this year. We have also recommended our members to reduce fees in non-operative transportation and computer usage.”
The pandemic has already caused many teachers to lose their jobs and take up odd jobs to make ends meet like selling fruits and vegetables, farming, painting, the petition states.
Also read:News, States