Delhi govt order also says schools can’t exclude children from online classes due to unpaid fees, and have to continue paying full salary to staff.
New Delhi: The Delhi government has instructed private schools not to hike their fees in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced Friday, providing relief to parents.
In its order issued Friday, the government has said schools cannot hike fees without its permission, whether they are constructed on private land or government land. The schools have also been told they can only charge a monthly tuition fee, and not transport fee, development fee or any other form of fee.
The orders have been issued under the Disaster Management Act, which is in place all over the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have been getting many complaints that schools are increasing their fee and charging fee like transport fee at this time,” Sisodia said during a press conference.
“Schools are not supposed to collect any other form of fee — annual fee, three months’ fee or transport fee. They can only collect tuition fee and that too on a monthly basis,” he added.
What schools were doing
Many private schools like Sanskriti School, Guru Harkrishan Public School, Apeejay and others had hiked their fee amid the coronavirus pandemic. Parents of children in various Delhi schools complained about the fee hike to the authorities, writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also bringing it to the attention of Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ through an online petition.
None of the schools, apart from Sanskriti, had approval from the Directorate of Education (DoE) to hike the fee, sources in the Delhi government told ThePrint. Other schools will need permission to implement the fee hike, which the Delhi government has now said it will not grant until the Covid-19 crisis has passed.
“Most schools took advantage of the fact that a lockdown is in place and offices are shut and just went ahead with the fee hike on their own, without permission from the government,” said a top source in the government.
Can’t exclude children if fee not paid
Sisodia also said schools cannot exclude children from online classes if their fee is not paid.
“We also received complaints about schools excluding children from live classes if their fee has not been paid. There is no need for schools to stoop so low; they are supposed to be doing social work and not making profit. This is why we are also instructing schools that they cannot exclude any student from online classes, whether the fee has been paid or not,” he said.
The schools have also been asked to keep paying staff salaries for the next three months.
“The school shall neither stop payment of monthly salary nor reduce the existing total emolument to the teaching and non-teaching staff of their schools in the name of non-availability of funds,” the order issued by DoE Friday stated.