Published: 22nd June 2021
Karnataka Govt seeks HC's nod to constitute committee to decide how much fees schools can charge in 2021-22
The state government had issued an order on January 29, wherein 70 per cent of the tuition fee prescribed for the academic year 2019-20 was asked to be collected for the next academic year
The Karnataka Government filed an application recently before the High Court seeking permission to constitute a high power committee headed by a retired judge to decide the fees proposed by the school managements and whether they are justified in collecting such fees, for the academic year 2021-22. Explaining the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on the social, economic, and educational aspects in the past year, in the application, MS Prasanna Kumar, Director of Public Instructions (Primary Education), stated that the government must come forward to resolve the fee crisis faced by parents as well as schools by striking a balance.
The state government, after consulting all stakeholders, had issued an order on January 29, 2021, wherein 70 per cent of the tuition fee prescribed for the academic year 2019-20 was asked to be collected for the academic year 2020-21. Further, he stated that this order was issued under Section 48 read with Section 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act, in order to protect the interest of the parents and schools, so that a large number of students are not deprived of quality education. However, this order was challenged before the court by the Association of Indian Schools and several others. The high court on March 9, 2021, passed the interim order in favour of the ICSE and CBSE schools and directed the state authorities not to take coercive steps against them. The court also implored upon the management to consider the individual grievances of parents by not insisting upon full payment of school fees.
"We are still in the middle of the crisis and cannot predict what is yet to come. The education system has to thrive to survive amidst this severe crisis. Therefore, for the academic year 2021-22, various representations have been made by the parent's associations to the chief minister and primary education minister seeking a reduction in the payment of school fees. The media has widely reported it", he stated in the plea. Owing to the pandemic, the state government, without prejudice to the rights of the parties in the petition, pending adjudication, has proposed to constitute a committee chaired by a retired judge of the high court which will be recommendatory in nature, eliciting the views of the parents, management and all the stakeholders to resolve the fee crisis which has created a deadlock in the matter. To enable petitioners to file objections to this plea, Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum adjourned the hearing until Tuesday.