SC ruling to pay 100% school fee during pandemic shocks parents in Raj


A day after the Supreme Court issued a ruling for parents to pay cent per cent school fees during the pandemic period, many parents in Rajasthan recalled how they had to drop their children from private schools and get them admitted to government schools due to reduced source of income, and wondered how did the apex court fail to take into account the job losses and salary cuts before pronouncing its judgement in favour of the schools.

One parent said that she had to withdraw the admission of her son who was studying in a private school as they were exhausted with their funds and were in huge debt.

“I was working as a contract employee in an educational institute while my husband had a furniture business in partnership. But the lockdown brought a real harsh time for us, as I lost my job and my husband who had just started the business after putting all his savings into it had nothing to earn. So we decided to shift our son to a government school after which he went into depression. We are now seeking medical assistance to cure him, all with borrowed money,” she said.

“He has had anxiety attacks for which he is taking medicines. I am sure there must be many other families facing similar blues. If the schools had no money, the government should have announced a package for them too. Why the taxpayers are being burdened,” she asked.

Another parent, Veenu, said, “We are looking for options in different schools where the fee is low, as we have already borrowed money to pay the due fees. Presently the schools charged 70 per cent fee going with the high court order. Now thinking of the scenario where we will have to arrange 60 per cent additional fees (30 per cent each for two kids), we spent a sleepless night on Monday. It seems the top court didn’t hear the other side at all.”

Speaking to IANS, Sunil Yadav, the president of the All Rajasthan Private School Parents Forum, said, “We are shocked and surprised with the SC verdict. How can the apex court fail to see that schools had no basic expenses during the lockdowns with online classes running, while the parents had to buy new phones, laptops and printers. Such verdicts shake the trust of the masses in the judiciary. We are in fact planning to file a review petition in this matter.”

It needs to be mentioned here that the Rajasthan government had earlier announced a fee waiver of 30 per cent for CBSE affiliated schools and 40 per cent for RBSE affiliated, which slashed 30 per cent and 40 per cent syllabus, respectively.

The Rajasthan High Court also announced a similar pattern when a few private school associations approached it in October.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that parents will have to pay 100 per cent school fees for the academic session 2020-21, which will be equal to the fees paid in the academic session 2019-20.

It further said that parents will have to pay the fee from March 5, 2021, which can be collected in six instalments. Also, the court clarified that no child’s name will be omitted from the school due to non-payment of fees. Also, children of Classes X and XII will not be denied to sit in the examination if fees are not deposited.