Government of Karnataka in a directive stated that the schools must slash the tuition fee for the academic year 2020-21 by as much as 30 %. The justification for ordering such a substantial discount is of course the pandemic and the lockdown that it induced. The order applies to both state and central curricula schools. Moreover, the directive restricts the collection of any fee under development or any other head, the head under which collection is allowed being Tuition exclusively.
The directive clarifies that in case the parents have paid the fee in full for the academic year, they must be given the mandated 30 % discount by adjusting the amount paid in excess in the fee of the next academic year.
The measure has come in the wake of the protest carried out by a group of parents, organized under Karnataka Private School Parents Organization, around the residence of the education minister of the state, S Suresh Kumar.
There were certain initiatives taken by the private schools themselves in the light of the Covid-19 induced slowdown, notable among them is the Associated Management of Primary and Secondary School (KAMS) advisory for the member schools for fee-reduction.
The KAMS advisory was quite measured and had schools categorized under fee-brackets and the fee reduction suggested corresponded to the fee-bracket any given school was in. For instance, the charging an excess of
Rs 25,000 per annum were suggested to look at a 20% to 25% reduction, whereas those charging less than Rs 25,000 but more than Rs 15,000 a year, were advised to just relax the special development fee. The schools charging less than 15,000 per annum could, KAMS suggested, reduce the term fee by 10 % of their tuition fee.
According to Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of KAMS, the government ordered fee reduction of 30 % will, in effect, amount to a reduction of as much as 40 to 50 %, and it is so because the state has not just ordered reduction of the tuition fee but has restricted the schools from collecting Lab, Sports and Computer lab fee, etc. as well.
The private school organizations say the state directive is to the detriment of the private schools and is unfair. There are instances where parents have not paid fees for 2 years and the state did not issue any guidelines for them in this regard, and the state approach of regulation has been totally unbalanced as it just remained exclusive to schools.
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