With the next academic year (2021-22) set to start from July 1, the fee issue is once again in news. While parents have been demanding a fee concession, schools are not willing to give in. A meeting of a section of school management was convened on Sunday. Following the meeting, Karnataka Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools (KAMS) general secretary D Shashi Kumar said, “We want to clarify that we are not collecting 70 per cent fee this year and instead it will be a full fee (similar to what was collected for the academic year 2019-20).”
To help parents pay it, schools should not insist on one-time payment and instead allow instalments. “If any parents have lost jobs, they can approach the school management, provide proof and claim the concession. We oppose a blanket fee concession. We are forced to take this decision as many parents have failed to pay the fee that has resulted in huge financial loss to us. We also request the education minister or officials to refrain from giving comments on fee issues and instead ask parents who are yet to pay the fee to pay,” he said. A number of schools have also hiked fee for the next academic year.
However, parents are demanding a concession. “The second wave has been worse than the first. Many have either lost jobs or faced pay cuts. So, we demand that the schools offer fee concessions,” said a parent. Another parent said, it looks like classes would be online for most part of the academic year. “So, if the students are sitting at home and listening in, why should we pay the full fee as we are not using the school’s infrastructure? The government should step in and broker a fee concession formula,” she said. Another parent said even last year despite the announcement of a fee cut and schools being asked to charge only 70 per cent of the tuition fee, a majority forced parents to pay up in full.
However, it looks like the government can do little on the fee issue. While announcing cancellation of SSLC exams, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar refused to take questions on fee issues. He said the issue was sub judice and so he didn’t want to comment on it. On Sunday, Kumar was unavailable for comments.