The Karnataka government on Friday ordered all schools - following either central or state syllabi - to reduce tuition fees for the current academic year by 30% due to COVID-19. The government has also said that no development fees or other fees apart from tuition fee can be charged.
The state government has also said that if parents have already paid the full fees, school managements will have to adjust the amount in the fee paid for the next year.
This decision by Karnatakaâ€™s Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar comes two weeks after a section of parents had held a protest in front of his residence over the issue. Karnataka Private School Parent Organisation Coordinating Committee took to sweeping the street in front of the minister's residence in Bengaluruâ€™s Basaveshwarnagar demanding that schools reduce the fees in the backdrop of the pandemic.
On January 5, Associated Management of Primary and Secondary School (KAMS) had passed an advisory calling for reduction in school fees by its member schools in light of the COVID-19-induced economic slowdown.
The advisory issued by KAMS suggested that schools whose fee structure is more than Rs 25,000 per annum can reduce 20% to 25%. For schools which have fees less than Rs 25,000 but more than Rs 15,000 a year, KAMS suggested that special development fees be relaxed for the current school year. Further, for schools whose annual fee is less than Rs 15,000, they can reduce their term fee to a maximum of 10% of their whole tuition fee.
Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of KAMS, said, â€śThe 30% of the tuition fee reduction that has been ordered, in reality will be in tune of 40-50%.The government has asked not only to reduce tuition fee but also directed us not to collect any fess for laboratory, sports and computer education. â€ť
â€śThere are parents who have not paid the fees for the past two years and the government had asked the schools to not take fees for the current academic year. The government should have issued guidelines for the parents as well instead of only regulating the schools. Or the government could have helped the schools who have already reduced their fees by 20-25 percent by directing the parents towards those schools,â€ť he added.