Covid effect: Kolkata parents pull children out of reputable schools – Telegraph India

Kolkata News

Many parents have been compelled to pull their children out of reputable schools and have formally told the institutions about their inability to afford the fees.

This number is in addition to a section of children whose parents have not sought a transfer certificate but the students have not been attending classes for a long time, several schools said. 


Among those who have spoken to the schools, some parents have said that their businesses have closed down and they have decided to move back to their native place.

Some have said they would get their child admitted to a less expensive school or a government school.

In some schools, exits like this started in the last academic session and are still continuing, showing the extent of the financial crisis inflicted by the Covid pandemic.

Before the pandemic, parents would ask for transfer certificates following their transfer to other cities or because they wanted their children to switch schools or boards. Now they are doing so because they can no longer afford the fees.

“When they are writing to us listing financial constraint as a reason, it points to how serious the situation is. The frequency of the letters suggests the economic rundown and that revival has not happened,” said Apala Datta, the principal of Birla Bharati School.

“The backlog of non-payment of fees has built up pressure, too, and the economic situation is not congenial to clear the dues,” she said.

In most cases, the students pulled out of reputable schools are in the primary and middle school sections.

About 25 children have pulled out of St Augustine’s Day School, Kolkata, around eight from Indus Valley World School and some from Mahadevi Birla World Academy and Birla Bharati School. All of their parents have cited unaffordability as the reason.

“There are parents who said they would admit their children to government schools. We also gave the option of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) where the fees are less but not all of them were ready to take it,” said Richard Gasper, the principal of St Augustine’s Day School, Kolkata. 

The second wave of Covid and deaths in families aggravated the financial crunch in many homes.

“There are mothers who have lost their spouses and have said that there is no earning member or the family businesses have shut down and they are moving to their native place in Rajasthan or Gujarat, where they would get financial and family support,” said Anjana Saha, the principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy.

The schools have been giving concessions or allowing parents to pay in instalments.

“But parents are also thinking of how long they will be able to continue like this. For a mother whose child is in Class III, she is not sure whether she will be able to continue till Class XII,” said Saha.

Teachers said when parents choose to admit their children in a school, they are aware of the fee structure and would rarely have to pull them out.

“The bulk of those who used to move out earlier would be transfer cases. Those unable to pay the fees would be very rare,” said Amita Prasad, the director of Indus Valley World School.

Many parents have pulled out their children from schools without informing the authorities. The challenge for the schools is to contact those parents.

“If parents discuss their problems, we can help as we have been doing, but not having any contact keeps us in the dark,” Prasad said.