Published: 30th September 2020
Up to 26% school fee waiver on cards after Odisha HC closes hearing
It is a fact that due to unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation, all stakeholders in the education system like schools, teachers, parents and students have been affected beyond the control
The Odisha High Court on Tuesday closed hearing on school fee waiver row after the Principal Secretary of School and Mass Education department submitted a report on the outcome of mediation over the dispute. The report has stated that a broad agreement has been reached on waiver of school fees up to 26 per cent based on the amount charged per annum.
The flat rate included a waiver of 26 per cent for school fees above Rs one lakh per annum, 25 per cent for fees from Rs 72,001 to Rs one lakh per annum, 20 per cent for Rs 48,001 to Rs 72,000 per annum, 15 per cent for Rs 24,001 to Rs 48,000 per annum, 12 per cent for Rs 12,001 to Rs 24000 per annum and 7.5 per cent for Rs 6,001 to Rs 12,000 per annum. No waiver has been agreed for school fees up to Rs 6,000.
In his report, Principal Secretary Satyabrata Sahu claimed that 14 participating members had signed an MoU agreeing for waiver of school fees in a flat rate after near unanimity could be achieved except for the representative of one of the three PIL petitioners. On September 1, the HC had issued an order for mediation over the dispute and directed representatives from Confederation of Odisha Public Schools, three PIL petitioners - Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangha, Mohamed Mustaq and Prahallad Rout - and Odisha Private School Teachers' Association to participate in the mediation process to be convened by the Principal Secretary, School and Mass Education department.
It is a fact that due to unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation, all stakeholders in the education system like schools, teachers, parents and students have been affected beyond the control of any individual entity despite the best efforts taken by the State, in providing education through online and offline modes as per extant guidelines issued by the Government, Sahu observed in his report.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice BR Sarangi fixed October 19 for submission of written note of arguments by the counsels of the three PIL petitioners who had sought a waiver of school fees for students of private schools in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.