Published: 03rd May 2021
Schools hold up mark cards over non-payment of fees, parents dismayed
While some schools are already seeking fees for the coming academic year, without the option of multiple instalments, some others are refraining from issuing marks cards till the fee is paid
Across boards, be it the state board, Central Board of Secondary Education or Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, parents and schools are facing the fees conundrum once again.
While some schools are already seeking fees for the coming academic year, without the option of multiple instalments, some others are refraining from issuing marks cards till the fee is paid. A parent whose ward is in a state board school in Bengaluru said that he was dismayed when his daughter's marks card was not issued to him on the pretext of non-payment of fees.
Another parent whose ward is in a CBSE school in Whitefield, said only after the matter was taken up with the block education officer, was the marks card issued. "Otherwise, the school had announced that it would issue marks cards on the day of reopening of school for the next academic year. Gauging the progress of the child meant nothing," the parent added. The parents said the school, like other CBSE schools, has denied them a chance to pay fees in instalments.
President of Voice of Parents M Shakeel said schools are offering a 5-10 per cent cut in fees and asking parents to pay up before issuing the marks card. This is the case even for students entering Class 10, and the problem is more rampant among CBSE schools, he added. Parents say that talks with department officials have been unfruitful. In the meantime, school managements are uncertain for how long they can keep up with a financial crisis.
Shashi Kumar, General Secretary, Karnataka Associated Managements of English Medium Schools (KAMS), an umbrella organisation for budget schools in the state, said that 95 per cent of the schools are likely to shut down, and it's just a matter of time, and will result in large scale job losses. Dependent industries like books, shoes, transport and uniforms will be hit too.
Last year, not even 50 per cent of the fees was paid, and schools even saw a drop in the number of students registering. There is no support from the government. Next year's revenue is expected to be even less, he added, seeking aid from the government. Any complaints by parents should be taken up on a case-to-case basis, instead of painting all schools with the same brush, Kumar said. Mansoor Ali Khan, General Secretary, Managements of Independent CBSE Schools Association (MICSA), rued that parents who were able to pay were refraining from paying too. He said just 3 per cent of schools, and those which are big, will be left standing. "Most of the schools I know have given the option of two to four instalments, or zero-interest finance and have not increased fees. Schools are also giving options of tying up with companies to help parents in financial distress," he said.
Many schools have taken bank loans to meet the recurring expenditure on salaries and maintenance. RTE reimbursements have not reached many schools, with private sector schools being left to fend for themselves. Even school managements see no merit in approaching the education department. The case over the 30 per cent fee cut remains in the Karnataka High Court, with the Court deciding to re-list the matters after summer vacation.