More than 100 CBSC privately held schools from Kolkata and adjoining regions have written to the West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for ‘immediate state intervention’ amid grave financial situation caused by non-payment of fees.
The step by Kolkata and adjoining schools comes after CBSC schools in the north Bengal region wrote to the school education department with a similar plea.
The principals wrote to the Bengal CM from Sahodaya Schools which is a platform created by the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) to enable schools to discuss important issues with the board and the state administration.
The letter urges the state’s intervention after non-payment of fees by parents have reached such magnitude that the very fact threatens closure for some institutions, Times of India reports. The letter states more than 70% of parents are not paying school fees and soon it will stir up normal operations including an inability to pay the teacher’s salaries and other staff.
The letter comes shortly after the state prohibited schools from raising fees this year. But the letter notes, despite schools have not raised fees, scores of parents are agitating and have been withholding fees since April. Not only this, but parents are reportedly demanding a different waiver in fees despite the fact it was not raised, the letter clarified. Principles are now urging the state to intervene and help parents see the situation’s gravity and encourage them to pay, according to reports.
“Schools should not be obligated to follow such unlawful directives, including waiving of fees that will have serious consequences in their ability to operate,” the letter stressed. “They have been demanding complete or partial waiver even though there has been no enhancement of fees.”
It also said the aggressive protests of parents in the schools and on social media have caused major stress to schools which are being increasingly portrayed as ‘rogue.’ “The issue of non-payment has taken a distorted turn on social media platforms and it has become a trend to support non-payment of fees,” the letter revealed.
The letter however reiterated that extremely needy parents who have lost jobs in the pandemic could meet the principal with a proof for concession in fees.
Earlier this month a similar instance happened where administrations from privately held CBSC schools in north Bengal appealed for government intervention after 90% parents withholding school fees, landing the institutions in grave financial conditions, the Telegraph reported.
“[…] there are some people, including politicians, who have been demanding the waiver of the fees and even instigating guardians not to pay the fees. If such a situation persists, some schools might have no option but to close down,” President of an association of regional CBSC schools wrote in a memorandum.
(Cover image courtesy of Biswarup Ganguly via Commons)