Congress demands fee reimbursement for private schools’ students

Hyderabad:  The Congress party on Thursday demanded that the Telangana Government announce a special financial package to provide relief to the parents and management of private schools across the State. 

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin, along with Hyderabad City Congress (Minorities Department) Chairman Sameer Waliullah, said that the parents of over 31 lakh children have been facing problem over payment of school fee, including dues for the last academic year 2019-20. Similarly, he said managements of private schools have been facing severe financial crunch due to non-payment of fee since April. 

“There are around 11,700 government-recognised private schools employing around 1.50 lakh teachers. As per Socio-Economic Survey – 2020, there are 10,369 private un-aided schools with an enrolment 31,11,211. These schools run on fee and donations collected from students. Almost all schools did not get the fee since April 2020 in addition to the dues for previous months,” Nizamuddin said. 

The Congress leader pointed out that the schools depend on the fee to pay salaries to the teachers and other non-teaching staff, rent for the building and other expenses. Since not all schools have so much of cash reserves, most of them did not pay salaries to the teachers and other staff since April, he said.

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 Nizamuddin said that the now many schools have been pressurising the parents to pay the dues for the previous academic year 2019-20 and advance fee for 2020-21. Some schools are also forcing the parents to pay for the school bus, canteen and other fees which they are calling as mandatory, he said.

“Many schools have launched their own Apps (Mobile/Online Applications) to run Online Classes. The Education Department has not clarified whether such Online Classes have its approval. The school managements have been asking the parents to download those Apps and make their children join Online Classes. But they are forcing them to pay an online fee to grant access to those online classes,” he alleged.

The TPCC Spokesperson said that since private schools run on fee, they cannot be expected to waive off the fee. “Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, while addressing a press conference last month, has warned the private schools against any hike in fee this year. But he did not specify how they will function with huge dues and no money to pay salaries or carry out other activities,” he said.

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Nizamuddin said that lakhs of parents were in mental trauma. “Many people have lost jobs, faced a huge cut in salaries or suffered losses due to lockdown. They are not in a position to bear any other financial burden. Now they need to take care of food and other expenses, clear their rental dues, pay exorbitant electricity bills and also pay the huge school fee for their children. They are also forced to pay for high-speed internet connections to make their children attend Online Classes. Their expenses have increased by manifold but the income has either stopped completely or got reduced,” he said.

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