The Covid-19 pandemic has disturbed the daily routine of every individual, especially the school-going children who are having to undergo online education. As the schools are forced to shut down, because of the rise in Covid-19 cases, classes have gone online for a year but there has been no change in the fee structure. As directed by the Supreme Court, educational institutions which are running online classes have been asked to reduce fees. This judgement by the Supreme Court would help many families who are unable to meet their financial needs. Considering this, schools and junior colleges in Vizag and other districts of AP have been told to adhere to the guidelines given by the Supreme Court and make plans to reduce fees for online classes.
On Thursday, Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission Chairman Justice R Kantha Rao said that they have been receiving several complaints from the parents reporting that some of the educational institutions are not providing the online link to students in the name of fee arrears. “A few days ago, the apex court had directed that educational institutions should be lenient in dealing with fees as online classes reduce the management’s financial burden on other maintenance costs including petrol/diesel, electricity, maintenance costs, water charges and stationary charges,” he added.
Justice Kantha Rao said that the Supreme Court had made it clear that these should also be taken into consideration. Educational Institutions were warned about strict action that would be taken if any schools in AP violate the Supreme Court guidelines and not reduce their fees. Also, if the parents come forward in future reporting about schools charging the same fee structure, immediate action would be taken on those institutions. In an interaction with Visakhapatnam District Educational Officer (DEO) B Lingeswara Reddy, he revealed that “so far, we haven’t received any information from the AP Government but once we receive, we would go as per the government orders.”
Meanwhile, on the same issue, some of the schools have raised a concern regarding payment of salaries to teachers who are running online classes from home. Though there has been no new fee structure adopted by the schools, the management have deemed it a priority to reduce the fees in a way such that it benefits both the teachers and the parents. “As of now, children are given summer vacation holidays till 13 July. We have been previously asking the school management about fee reduction but there was no response. Hope the Supreme Court guidelines would be implemented by all the schools in Vizag. This move will help a lot of lower and middle class families especially,” said Radhika, whose daughter is studying in a private school in the city.