The Kerala state government has issued an order, barring schools following the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum from charging excess fees from students in the next academic year. Following an interim order from the Kerala High Court on November 20, A Shajahan, Secretary, General Education issued an order on December 2, barring the schools from charging additional fees. The HC had earlier prohibited schools from collecting fees higher than the actual expenses for the current academic year.
The order said that any extra amount charged to meet the financial issues caused due to the COVID-19 situation will not be allowed. â€śThe fees being charged by the school authorities are commensurate to the facilities granted in the pandemic scenario and [it should be] ensure[d] whether there is any profiteering or excess demand. All these confinements are for the year 2020-21 alone and not for any other year, taking note of the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, which is peculiar to this year,â€ť the circular said, as reported by The Hindu.
Earlier, there were allegations that some schools had decided to hike fees, in order to meet losses incurred in the 2019-20 academic year.
On Wednesday, while considering some petitions over the fees hike issue, the HC expressed distress over the CBSE not passing any order barring school fees hike. Judge Devan Ramachandran also asked the state government whether any section of the education department can deal with the complaints regarding the fee hike, as the CBSE is not taking up the responsibility as of now.
In October, the same bench had sought an explanation from the CBSE school managementsâ€™ association on why their member schools have started collecting fees for the 2020-2021 academic year. The HC was considering petitions from some school managements, claiming that some parents are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation and not paying school fees for the academic year 2020-2021. At the time, the petitioners sought a directive from the state police chief to ensure no disruption in fee collection.