BENGALURU: The Karnataka government on Friday capped fees to be charged by private unaided schools for academic year 2020-21 at 85% of their tuition fees for 2019-20.
No other fees like development fees, donation or charity to trusts or other facilities can be collected.
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The order is applicable to all school boards. In case a school has already collected the full fees, it’s bound to return the excess fees or adjust it with fees of academic year 2021-22. In case parents have grievances, they can approach grievance redressal committees that will be headed by directors of the department in Bengaluru and principals of DIETs and senior education department officials in districts.
On January 29, 2021, Suresh Kumar, then minister for primary and secondary education, had announced that private schools can collect only 70% of tuition fees. Other fees under the banner of development fee, donation to trusts, or other facilities like transport and extra curricular activities could not be collected.
Private schools challenged the order in the high court. On September 16, the court disposed of the petitions in terms of the Supreme Court’s decision in Indian School Jodhpur vs State of Rajasthan case on May 3. As a one-time measure, the Supreme Court had directed for providing deduction of 15% on fee amount in lieu of unutilised facilities by students during 2020-21.
As per the high court order, the school management can collect annual school fees fixed for academic year 2019-20 (schools were not allowed to hike fees in 2020-21) after deducting 15% in lieu of unutilised facilities by students during 2020-21.
Schools can’t debar kids from attending classesThe order states schools are free to provide further concession over and above this 15% in tuition fees. At the same time, schools cannot debar a student from attending online/offline classes on account of non-payment of fees and cannot withhold their results. Schools can’t withhold the name of candidate appearing for board exams too.
In case of a request by a parent finding it difficult to pay fees, schools have to consider them on a case-by-case basis. The order mentions this will not affect collection of fees for academic year 2021-22. “If a school collects Rs 70 as tuition fees, Rs 15 as term fees and Rs 15 as development fee, it can only collect 85% of Rs 70 as per the order. Fees to be collected would come to Rs 59.50,” said a department official.
“The high court has specifically said schools can collect annual fees after deducting 15%. However, the department has divided it into tuition fees and other fees. This is unacceptable and a contempt of the court order. We’ll be forced to challenge it again in the court,” D Shashi Kumar, secretary, Association of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka, said.