Despite the Delhi government explicitly asking private schools not to collect anything more than the tuition fee from students, several schools are allegedly collecting fee under other components and denying students access to online classes on non-receipt of the amount, several parents have said.
The Delhi Parents Association has compiled names of at least 76 private schools that are violating the government order. Aprajita Gautam, president of the association, said parents will call for a hunger strike soon if the matter is not resolved. “We had written to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office on September 17, demanding strict action against these schools. However, we are yet to get a response. The government should take these complaints seriously and find a solution at the earliest,” she said.
An official from the education department said, “Strict action will be taken against schools violating the government order. No student can be barred from online classes for any reason.”
The directorate of education (DoE), on August 30, had directed all private schools in Delhi to charge only the tuition fees during the current Covid-19 crisis. The directorate also ordered schools not to refuse access to online classes to any student, irrespective of whether the parent was able to pay the tuition fee or not.
But parents of children who study at a prominent school in Dwarka alleged that the school had been demanding annual charges and fee under “other charges”; and it had allegedly warned parents of “action” if they did not pay by September 25.
The father of a class 6 student said, “The school had discontinued online classes for my child for three weeks in July over a delay in fee payment. We paid the fee in August and my child’s classes resumed. Now, the school has sent a reminder asking for tuition fee and annual fee by September 25. I am worried that my child’s classes will be discontinued again.”
The school’s lawyer, said, “The school has moved the Delhi high court, challenging the Delhi government’s order to charge only tuition fee. The matter is subjudice and will be next heard by the court on October 9. The school will not bar any student from online classes.”
The matter had come before the high court on September 17 and the court had sought a response from the Delhi government.DoE officials denied comment saying the matter is subjudice.
The father of a class 2 student of a East Delhi school, said, “Despite paying the tuition fee till June, the school discontinued online classes for my son on Thursday. They asked me to give a date by which I would be able to submit the pending fee. I do not know what to do as my shoe business has taken a hit.”
“The classes have been discontinued only for those who have not been paying the fee since the last academic session. Parents with financial problems are welcome to discuss their issues with us,” the east Delhi scool principal said.