Most of the private schools are facing a tough challenge to pay their employees on time. Some of the academic staff and non-academic staff have shown outrage on the authorities of the private schools. With several teachers demanding their salaries, most of the private schools all across the states have been trying several ways to raise money. Some of the private schools have been reported of hiking fees of the students. If any children have not been able to pay the fees, they are being locked out of their school domain. The students in private schools of Chhattisgarh have dropped out. Delhi government has warned the private schools against fee hike. The Punjab High Court (HC) and Haryana High Court (HC) have ordered the private schools in their respective states to increase fees in private schools. The government of Gujarat announced that there would be a 25 per cent of the reduction in the fees of private schools. The decision has been the outcome of meeting with several members in the association of private schools and parents. The private schools in Gujarat must not charge any fees for the co-curricular activities.
The students who have paid the full fees will get their repayment. There will be no fee hike for the academic session this year. However, the decision has been conditional. The parents who will pay 50 per cent of the fees by the end of October will get 25 per cent of fee reduction in the academic year.
How did the decision take place?
The High Court (HC) of Gujarat had directed the state government to conduct a meeting over the fee reduction and negotiation with the federation of the self-financed schools. The meeting ended with a sharp difference of opinion between the two bodies. The state government of Gujarat had suggested that there would be a 25 per cent of the fee reduction. The federation had suggested that there would fees would be charged based on different circumstances. The parents with a stable condition would not get any concession whereas, the parents who are facing financial struggles will get some concession. The meeting ended without any proper strong conclusion.
The High Court of Gujarat asked the federation of Private schools to submit a report over the final decision of fee reduction. The Private schools filed an affidavit stating that they had agreed to consider the fee reduction of students from 10 per cent to 100 per cent depending on the circumstances of their financial conditions. The representative of the self-financed Schools’ Association and Litigation Party said that the school would not go for the fee revision and fee hike ranging from 5 per cent to 12 per cent. This annual fee hike in schools used to take place due to inflation.
To this, the Chief Justice, Vikram Seth and Justice J B Pardiwala requested the state government of Gujarat to hold another meeting with the federation of the unaided bodies of private schools. The self- governing bodies along with the state government decided to lock the fee reduction of 25 per cent for all the students.
The settlement was announced by the Chief Minister of the state Vijay Rupani in the cabinet meeting. The High Court of Gujarat had issued an order to the state government to seek a balanced decision in the relaxation and reduction of school fees.
The state government held an assemblage with the school administration and parents. The joined meeting concluded with 25 per cent of fee reduction in the private schools. The decision would be applicable for all the private schools under the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), Indian School Certificate (ISC), the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (ISCSE), Cambridge University and so on.
- The President of Wali Swaraj Manch, Amit Panchal, said that the state government has listened to the demands of the private schools. It is to be decided later whether that the decision would be challenged legally or the decision must be submitted to the state government.
- The President of an Association of Progressive Schools, Manan Choksi, has stated that members are waiting for the Government Resolutions to anticipate the possibilities that have compelled such decisions.
- It was proposed to the state government that the reduction of fees would be 20 per cent. The parents would have required to pay the fees for the last two quarters (April-September 2020) by the end of October.
- The President of All Gujarat Wali Mandal, Naresh Shah demanded 50 per cent of the reduction in the tuition fees along with the 100 per cent fee deduction in all the 14 co-curricular activities in schools.
- The President of Gujarat Ekta Mandal, Jayesh Patel, said that the meeting was held in a ‘suspicious manner.’ The representation of the members of several parent’s associations was not taken into consideration.
The Education Minister has requested private schools not to dismiss the teachers due to pay reduction. The state government has also requested the private school to pay the salaries of the employees on time. The Education Minister has thanked all the members of the school federation for agreeing with the 25 per cent of a fee reduction. Also, the government has encouraged the authorities of the private school to cooperate with the students so that the latter do not suffer from any loss. He has also urged the parents to pay 50 per cent of the fees by October 31, 2020, to avail 25 per cent of the fee reduction.