Updated: April 14, 2020 1:13:25 am
In an attempt to provide “relief” to parents in the state during lockdown, the state government on Monday said that school managements have been asked not to raise fees for the upcoming academic year and to allow parents to pay fees for the months of March, April and May 2020 in a staggered manner through monthly installments.
However, reacting to this decision, parents who were demanding demanded exemption from paying fees of three months have termed it as a mere gimmick by the state government.
“In a meeting between state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and representatives of Shala Sanchalak mandal (school management association) on Sunday, it has been decided that in the upcoming academic year no school will increase their fees,” said Ashwini Kumar, secretary to chief minister while briefing mediapersons in Gandhinagar. He said the order regarding the fees will be binding on all schools in the state include private and self-financed entities.
“In another decision, if the financial condition of a parent is weak, they can pay the fees for March-April-May, anytime within six months from June to November, 2020,” Kumar said adding that the fee can be paid in monthly instalments or lumpsum. “Schools will not be pressuring the parents on these payments,” he added.
In schools that accept fees quarterly, half-yearly or yearly, parents can pay the fees monthly, the official added. When asked if the state government proposed to the school management to forgo the fees for these three months, the official replied in the negative.
Parents associations have strongly criticised this move. “This is only double standards of the state government. Parents’ income has been badly hit because of the lockdown and we are not sure how long it will take for the economic conditions to improve,” said Pooja Prajapati, president of Parents’ Ekta Manch.
Wali Swaraj Manch, another parents’ association, too echoed similar concern. “There is no point in giving a leeway to parents to submit fee where schools have already deducted the same for the last quarter ending May. As parents have already submitted post-dated cheques for all four quarters in advance, schools have already deducted the fee,” said Amit Panchal, President of Wali Swaraj Manch. Schools have already increased their fee even after the implementation of the Gujarat Self-financed (Regulation of Fees) Act 2017, Panchal added.
Reacting to the concerns, Chudasama said, “During a meeting with the school representatives yesterday, all these issues were discussed. The state government will ensure schools do not flout this six-month relaxation given to parents and in case they have already, they have to refund it.”
The school managements have welcomed this decision.
“It is a good decision. Since expenses incurred by schools are fixed including salaries, now though late but at least we will be able to cover our expenses,” said president of Gujarat Self-financed School Association president Archit Bhatt.
Vacation till May 17
The government also declared vacations for colleges and universities in the state till May 17.
“Vacations have been declared in all colleges and universities from April 15 to May17. After reopening on May 18, decisions on conducting examinations in the state will be taken as per UGC and AICTE guidelines,” Ashwini Kumar, secretary to chief minister said.
The government has also decided to restart centralised evaluation of examination papers of students who appeared for board examinations for 10th and 12th grades, from April 16, Kumar added.
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