Private School Fee Collection: Odisha Parents’ Body Threatens Hunger Strike; Know Why

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangh (OAM) on Thursday has urged the School and Mass Education Department to modify the notification on 15 per cent deduction of annual fees charged by private schools.

The Mahasangh made it clear that if the demands are not fulfilled, it will launch an indefinite hunger strike in front of the official residence of the minister concerned and principal secretary of the department.

Briefing the media here, chairman of the Mahasangh, Basudev Bhatta said while the notification issued by the School and Mass Education Department on June 3, 2021, has created confusion among parents, private schools will take the notification as an opportunity and forcefully collect the fees with 15% deduction of the total annual fees , including use and unused fees.

“The department should clearly mention on the deduction of 15% from the tuition fee only (utilised fee only), excluding all ancillary fees like readmission, annual fee, session fee, other fees which are not utilised by the students during the COVID-19 period,” he maintained.

Bhatta further said as Odisha has no specific fee structure like Rajasthan, it should strictly follow Section 4-(1) of the resolution taken on September 23, 1996, which stipulates that fees and charges should be commensurate with the facilities provided.

He said apart from this, para-9 and 10 of the resolution clearly stipulates that the power of the state and enforcement thereof is not a one-time exercise and as and when there is a violation inter alia charge of fees as envisaged under para-4.1, the state can exercise its power under para-9 and 10 of the said resolution and take action for withdrawal of no-objection certificate (NOC) and the recognition. The same is also in consonance with the law laid down by the Supreme Court that there should not be any profiteering, he pointed out.

On the payment of fees collected by private schools, he said as per the resolution, the amount payable by the students be paid in six installments before August 5, 2021, which is not possible. Rather, it should be extended for an academic calendar or regular physical classes after the COVID-19 pandemic. If the students clear Class X or XII examinations, the paid amount shall be refunded.

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