Despite repeated warnings from the Delhi government, several private schools in the city have reportedly denied students access to online education for failing to pay fees during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Some schools have already removed students’ names from online classes, while others are issuing notices stating that if the children do not pay fees, they will be banned. Many parents have complained.
The Directorate of Education (DoE) ordered all private schools in Delhi on August 30 not to deny access to online courses to students whose parents were unable to pay fees during the lockdown due to financial problems.
“Under no circumstances should school principals deny students / parents ID and password for online access to educational institutions / classes / materials etc. if they are unable to pay school fees due to the financial crisis due to the closure of Business activities in the current blocked state ”, it says in the order. This order was a continuation of a similar order issued on April 18.
A senior official in the Education Department of the Delhi Government said: “The ordinance clearly states that under no circumstances will schools deny students access to online education if they are unable to pay fees, including tuition, due to the financial crisis that the lockdown has triggered. Parents can complain to the department if schools do. “
Despite the order, parents of several students at Delhi Public School (DPS), Mathura Road, said the school removed the names of some students from online classes on Monday due to fees.
The father of a grade 3 student said he could not file fees for this academic session because he was unemployed since March. “I informed the school that I was struggling to make ends meet after losing my job due to the ban. I promised them I would file all fees by October, but they removed my child’s name from Microsoft teams (online video conferencing app). I have no idea what to do now? “said the parent who runs a clothing store in Chandni Chowk.
The mother of two students from the same school said they could not pay the fee for this academic session either, which is why the school removed their children’s names from online classes. “My husband works in the printing business and work has been completely suspended since March because of the lockdown. There is hardly any merit these days. One of our family members died of Covid-19 and we are under enormous hospital debt. We have written emails to the schools communicating all of this, but my children’s names have still been removed from online classes. “
Headmistress Deeksha Khera declined to comment on the matter. A senior school official, who asked for anonymity, said: “Online classes have only been suspended for those students who have not paid for that academic session. Parents should file fees for at least a month or two. There should be some accountability. “
Some schools have instructed parents to pay the fees at the earliest, otherwise the names of their stations would be removed from online lessons.
For example, the ASN Senior Secondary School in Mayur Vihar issued a notice on Monday asking parents to pay their dues by September 14th. “Please note that after September 14th the school can no longer continue the online lessons of students who have not done this and has even deposited the tuition fee until July”, the message says. However, the school has asked parents with financial difficulties to provide “documentary support”.
The father of a grade 4 student at the school who runs a clothing store in Karol Bagh said he and several other parents had already written to the school telling them they could not pay the fees immediately due to financial hardship. “The school asks us to provide a document. How do I prove that I am not getting clients these days and my earnings are passing from hand to mouth? ” he said.
Headmaster Swarnima Luthra said the school cannot pay salaries to staff because parents do not pay fees. “Those who have trouble paying can give us evidence like bank statements or something,” she said.
The DoE had also asked the schools to refund or adjust money in case they had received other payments from parents at that academic session. However, the parents said the schools are not following the instruction.
The father of a grade 3 student at Brain International School in West Delhi, Vikaspuri, said he works in an event organization and has been unemployed since March. “I had my child enrolled in school that year and paid annual changes and three months of fees. But then I was working. I asked the school to adjust the annual fee I paid earlier but they don’t listen. “
Despite several attempts, Headmaster Seema Behl did not respond to calls and texts sent for comment.
Aprajita Gautam, president of the Delhi Parents’ Association, said they will collect complaints against private schools from parents and send them all to Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.
“Despite the government order, we have received several complaints against private schools for harassing parents over fees during a pandemic. We will shortly collect all of these complaints and send them to the CM office demanding action against these schools,” she said .