Kolkata: Several city schools on Thursday told the Calcutta High Court that they were willing to introduce several measures to ease financial burden on parents. These measures include delayed payment of fees in instalments, reducing several fee components and doing away with late payment penalties. Many schools also said that no child will be barred from appearing in the board exams for non-payment of fees during the pandemic.
An HC division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya, hearing a PIL filed by Vineet Ruia, had on September 21 said they hoped that students appearing for board examinations would not have to lose a year merely because their parents could not afford to pay the fees due to the economic situation during the pandemic. The HC is likely to hear the case again on Monday.
BP Tiwary, the lawyer who represented CNI schools and the other minority institutions’ group, said on Thursday, “We said that no child will be barred from board exams, no one will be debarred from online classes now and physical classes later, and we shall give an easy instalment facility to pay the dues after the pandemic.”
Paritosh Sinha, who appeared with Tiwary for CNI schools, said that care has been taken in the template to see that no one is harmed. “We will ensure that not a single child’s education or future suffers,” he asserted. Lawyer Shyam Diwan, too, represented CNI schools.
The HC had also urged guardians who can afford the original fees not to take advantage of the waivers proposed by the school committees so that the relief can be passed on to parents who need it more.
The 11 CNI schools, which include La Martiniere Schools, Pratt Memorial, St James, St John’s Diocesan School and St Thomas Boys and Girls School, Kidderpore, also said that they had not discontinued the services of any staffer and there had been no disruption in teaching-learning process. The HC received a similar fee-concession proposal from another group of minority schools that has both religious and linguistic minorities, and a third proposal from Modern High School.
However, the third proposal filed by advocate Ranjan Bachawat and Sanjay Ginodia also stressed that parents not affected by the pandemic will not avail this reduction. A total of 145 schools have filed affidavits and the hearing will continue on Monday.