Gandhinagar, July 23 : With the Gujarat High Court holding that schools cannot charge fees during the period when they are physically non-functional due to Covid-19, the state Education Department has ordered private schools to return online education charges levied during this academic year.
It also prohibited them from taking any type of fees from the students till their functioning resumes.
A circular issued by the department said: “It has come to the notice of the government that even during the total lockdown in the state, many self-financed and private schools were forcing and demanding fees from parents while at the same time, slashing down salaries of their teachers and staff by 40 to 50 per cent and some were not even paying them at all.
“During such difficult times like Covid-19 situation, the noble profession of education is expected to support the students. Despite that, the self-financed schools confederation has refused to carry out any reduction in their fees. Looking at this, the government has decided that from the time schools were shut down due to Covid-19, till the time they resume, no school shall charge any fee from their students.”
Moreover, no schools will hike their fees for the academic year 2020-21, it said, adding that the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC) will look into the realistic expenses of the educational and salary expenses of private schools and thereafter, decide on the fees for the next academic session.
Further, those schools which have taken tuition fees and other fees from parents during this period shall have to return these, by adjusting it in the regular fees when schools resume functioning.
Furthermore, according to the Gujarat High Court’s June 19 order, no schools can remove any students from the schools for non-payment of fees.
If any of these orders are found violated, the District Education Officer (DEO) will take action against such schools, says the order.