Private School Fee Waiver: Odisha Parents’ Body Demands Special Govt Notification

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Bhubaneswar: The Abhibhabak Mahasangh has urged the Odisha government to come up with a specific notification on the waiver of private school fees.

It may be recalled that the Federation of Private Schools (FPS) formed by the Association of Odisha ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) in association with some private schools had recently moved the Supreme Court challenging the notification issued by the School and Mass Education Department on the waiver of private school fees.

As the apex court in its ruling two days ago made it clear that the waiver of fees will not be applicable to the private schools that are excluded from the MoU signed with the state government, the FPS has made it clear that it would not waive the fees.

Reacting to the announcement by the FPS in this regard, the Abhibhabak Mahasangh in a press meet on Sunday said that as per the directive of the apex court, the private schools, that have filed the petition in the apex court, can lodge a written complaint with the state government within seven days. Then the state government in accordance with the law is allowed to review the validity of their complaint, make alternative arrangements and issue a special directive on the collection of school fees.

The Mahasangh further said that the Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of the Orissa High Court with regard to the control of the state government on the private schools and its right to fix the fee waiver. As per the resolution of the state government made on September 23, 1996, the private schools will collect the fees from the parents and guardians on the basis of the educational facilities provided by them with their consent. If any private school violates the resolution, the state government will take the necessary steps to withdraw its affiliation.

Besides, the Mahasangha also questioned the legality of the petition filed by the principal of an ICSE-managed private school in the apex court despite being a salaried employee when the management of the concerned school is empowered to collect the school fees.

On the other hand, the FPS, in a press briefing on Sunday made it clear that the collection of the school fee amount in 2019-20 will remain unchanged for the current academic session and the students, who have not paid the school fees will be allowed to deposit the same in six installments.

It also said that the school management will not pressurise any student and deprive them of the studies and examination.

Stating that the private schools are solely dependent on the tuition fees to run their institution, it said that as the teachers have been providing online education to the students since the COVID-19 pandemic till date, the schools will collect the fees, they had waived during the pandemic, in the current academic session.

Besides, the FPS also made it clear that as per the directive of the Supreme Court, 105 ICSE schools, 55 DAV schools and more than 5000 schools adhering to the CBSE will not abide by the notification of the state government.

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