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Private schools can collect 75 pc fees from pandemic-hit families: Madras High Court

Madras High Court on Friday permitted private unaided schools in the State which had conducted online classes without any hindrance to collect 85 per cent of annual fees for the year 2021-22 in six instalments from students whose parents had not suffered a loss of income during the pandemic.

Private schools can collect 75 pc fees from pandemic-hit families: Madras High Court
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Justice D Krishnakumar, before whom a batch of pleas moved by private schools came up, allowed the collection of 85 per cent fees from students whose parents are government employees, PSU staff, professionals, business people etc, unaffected by the pandemic.

However, for parents who have suffered a loss of income, the court, while seeking such students to make an application to the school management, sought it to collect 75 per cent of the fees.

Also, while allowing the unaided private institutions to collect the arrears of fees payable for 2020-2021 in instalments, the court made it clear to the school managements that no student should be debarred from attending online or physical classes on account of non-payment of fees.

The court also held that the schools shall not withhold results of the examinations of any student on that ground. “If any such action is brought to the notice of the educational authorities, it shall be viewed seriously and suitable action shall be taken against the institutions concerned,” Justice Krishnakumar held.

Further, directing the District Educational Officer of the Districts concerned to take appropriate within 30 days in the event of any dispute owing to grant of concession in fee, the court made it clear that in any event the students shall not be removed/dropped under any circumstance during the academic year 2021-22 and it is the responsibility of the jurisdictional educational authorities to monitor the same.

The managements of CBSE schools were also directed to publish the details of fees to be collected for 2021-2022 on their respective website, within four weeks.

The court, noting the Supreme Court observation that State authorities do not have any power under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to order reduction in fees of private unaided schools, also recorded the grievance of many schools that collecting just the tuition fees has become a challenge, especially in the second year of the pandemic. Moreover, virtual classes have also thrown up fresh costs for some schools, with authorities having to buy laptops and pay for internet connectivity for teachers who failed to have the required infrastructure to conduct online classes.

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