Kolkata, Oct 13 (PTI) The apex body of guardians of 145 private schools in the state on Tuesday welcomed the order of the Calcutta High Court asking schools to offer a minimum 20 per cent reduction in fees.
The HC on Tuesday ordered the private schools here to offer a minimum 20 per cent reduction in fees across the board, while directing that non-essential charges for use of facilities not availed of will not be permissible.
Supriyo Bhattacharya said on behalf of United Guardians' Association 'we are yet to go through the judgement of the HC. But if the HC ordered a minimum 20 per cent reduction of fees and directed there should not be any charges for facilities not availed during the lockdown period, apparently our main demand has been met to a large extent.' He said 'had the order been solely about the reduction of tuition fees only we would have reservations.' Bhattacharya said the association will come up with a detailed response after reading the entire judgement but expressed happiness for the win after a long battle which 'we had to launch risking COVID-19 situation as the private schools were even not honouring the notice of the state government for not taking non-tuition fees during the pandemic phase.' Nabarun Dey, General Secretary of the Association of Head of ICSE Schools, Bengal, said the association has not yet taken any decision in the wake of the HC order.
However individually as the Principal of Central Modern School in the city, he said it will throw private schools having limited resources to a 'serious crisis'.
'On behalf of my school I can say after carefully examining the whole order, we may approach the Supreme Court for a review of the HC ruling,' he said.
Dey said 'schools like ours will face a serious crisis if there is 20 per cent slash in fees. How will we pay the hiked salaries of the school staff which was effective from January. We did not effect any hike in fees in this academic session for the pandemic situation and ran online classes during lockdown.
'There are certain recurring maintenance costs which we could not stop including paying electricity charge and paying the school transport staff among others.' The HC order came after guardians of students of the 145 schools, mostly in and around the city, had moved petitions seeking reduction in school fees since only online classes are being held during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Directing that there will be no increase in fees during the financial year 2020-21, the court ordered that from April, 2020 till the month following the one in which the schools reopen in the physical mode, all 145 schools will offer a minimum of 20 per cent reduction of fees across the board.
The division bench directed that non-essential charges for use of facilities like additional charges for laboratory, craft, sporting facilities or extracurricular activities or the like, which are not availed of, will not be permissible during the months that the schools have not functioned in the physical mode.
The court made it clear that there will be no refund of the fees already paid. PTI SUS RG RG