Private schools 'force' parents to clear fee in advance

Provide 30% rebate on fee; collect fee on monthly basis only; make accounts public: Samoon

In clear violation of the government directions, the private schools have asked the students to deposit fees in advance for upcoming months amid COVID19 pandemic.

The move comes at a time when the government has instructed the private schools to charge only tuition fee on monthly basis and not on quarterly basis.

Parents complained that almost every private school is sending SMSs to them demanding advance fee up to October. “It is surprising that when people are finding it difficult to make ends meet, the private schools are demanding advance tuition fee up to October,” Muhammad Asif, a parent from Dalgate said.

He said the private schools do not adhere to the government guidelines and instead resort to profiteering. “The government has given clear instructions to private schools that fees should be charged on monthly basis only. September is not over yet and we are asked to pay fee for October, this is unjustified. The government should initiate action against these schools,” he said.

He said the schools have asked the parents to clear fee online or by visiting their fee counters. “Dear parent, kindly clear the pending dues of your ward till October 2020. Fee can be paid online and school fee counters are also open for your convenience from 9:30am to 3:30pm,” reads a text message sent by one of the leading private schools to the parents.

The message has been sent to parents at a time when the government has recently hinted to slash the fee by 30 percent for COVID19 lockdown period amid recent judgments of High Courts of Madras and Rajasthan.

The School Education department has sought legal opinion from the J&K Law department to implement these judgments for reducing the tuition fee in the private schools for the COVID lockdown period.

“But it seems that the schools want to collect the fee in advance from parents so that the government decision to reduce the fee structure will not get implemented for these months,” said Muhammad Sadiq, another parent.

Principal Secretary, School Education, Asgar Samoon reiterated that the private schools have to provide 30 percent rebate in school fee in view of the pandemic. He said no institution will be allowed to charge the advance fee.

“The fee has to be collected on monthly basis. The schools have to make their accounts public through publication in the media. They have to explain their expenditures incurred and fee received from parents for at least three to five years. They have to explain the utilization of money and how much was spent on the teachers’ salary,” Samoon said.

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