Clamour for fee regulation as schools, colleges get set to reopen

Some parents want the government to focus on vaccinating the children first and then consider reopening schools.   | Photo Credit: File photo

Voices for regulating school and college fee are growing louder even as the government gears up to reopen physical classes in a phased manner starting from July 1.

One of the demands is that the government should direct the educational institutions to collect fee on a monthly basis as schools and colleges were demanding on term payments, which most parents can ill-afford at this time. That transportation fee, which schools and colleges insist to be paid in full otherwise should also be regulated to monthly payments, is the argument of parents.

After a review on the opening of educational institutions, Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy said schools and colleges will be asked to collect only the tuition fee. But the government is unwilling to force them to follow the suggestion through an order. Officials said the government wants to ensure only 30% of the fee is collected from parents but the question remains what steps will be taken to strictly implement that.

Meanwhile, a section of parents is strongly opposing reopening of schools before the entire population above 18 years is vaccinated as the fear of a possible third wave haunts them. The Hyderabad Schools Parents Association (HSPA) has launched an online petition on change.org to defer physical classes till the vaccination is completed. And the response to the petition seems to suggest that parents overwhelmingly support it.

Laxmi Tutika, a parent, said the government should first focus on vaccinating the children and reconsider reopening educational institutions so soon. Parents seem to be worried over the experts’ claim about the third wave affecting mostly children. Santosh Ayyappan, one of those who signed the petition, argued that children should not be put at risk given the third wave warning.

However, private schools welcomed the reopening decision, saying that it has been far too long that students have stayed away from school, and further delay would impact their learning abilities.

Sreenivas Reddy, chairman of Telangana Recognised Schools Managements Association, said teachers have been asked to get vaccinated before schools reopening and the government should give priority to them in the inoculation drive.

The association, which has over 9,000 budget schools as its members, says the reopening would bring children back to education. Mr. Reddy added that all budget schools collect monthly fee and he doesn’t see any tussle with parents on that ground. Chava Ravi, general secretary of Telangana State United Teachers Federation, also welcomed the decision and said the government should support teachers in implementing COVID-19 guidelines.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 4:53:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/parents-demand-fee-regulation-before-schools-colleges-reopen/article34913700.ece

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