Fee collection by CBSE schools during lockdown period annoys parents

In the backdrop of the Ministry of Human Resource Development directing Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and other autonomous bodies to tweak the academic calendar to tide over the COVID 19 crisis, online collection of fee by some CBSE schools in the city even before the commencement of the academic year has caused consternation among parents.

The HRD Ministry had, last week, sent a circular to all States and autonomous bodies such as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to work on an alternate academic calendar.

But, that has not deterred the CBSE schools from fixing stiff deadlines for parents to pay the fees online.

Parents lament that the schools feel emboldened as the Tamil Nadu government has not made its position clear on the issue. While warning schools last year against conducting the admission process during the vacation, the Education department did not make any specific mention about school fee collection. Also, the government follows a hands-off policy when it comes to CBSE schools.

On the other hand, a number of other State Governments including those in Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh have issued clear warnings to the schools, irrespective of board affiliations, that their recognition will be withdrawn if they flout the order not to collect fee at the time of nationwide lockdown.

A CBSE school in the city had issued a circular to parents on March 28 instructing them to make the fee payments before April 7. Another CBSE school has fixed April 14 as the deadline. Most of the private schools are now in the process of collecting the fee, a former member of State Consumer Protection Council, Government of Tamil Nadu, said.

An official of the School Education Department said it was normal for CBSE schools to start the classes during April. "There has been no specific instruction from the government so far for postponement of the last date for fee payment in CBSE schools in view of the nationwide lockdown," the official said.

According to a representative of a private school management, there was a necessity for CBSE schools to start the academic year in April since the syllabus cannot be completed. The mid-term exams in September warrant timely completion of portions which will not be possible if the classes begin in June.

It was a common practice for CBSE schools to collect the fee before commencement of the academic year, which, had to be postponed this time around due to unforeseen circumstances.

But, the schools will have to fall in line and defer collection of fee at this juncture if the government issues an order to that effect, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:47:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/fee-collection-by-cbse-schools-during-lockdown-irks-parents/article31221246.ece

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