Karnataka govt orders private schools to collect only 85% tuition fee from previous year, managements seek ‘clearer’ order

The Karnataka High Court in September directed private schools in the state to provide a 15 per cent discount in fee for the academic year 2020-21.

In response to the Karnataka government order that stressed compliance to the high court instruction that school managements can collect only 85 per cent of the tuition fees they charged for the 2019-20 academic year, private managements have sought clarity for the same.

According to D Shashikumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS), a “clearer order” would sort the issue.

“While the English version of the order (dated November 12), issued by the state government based on directions from the High Court (of Karnataka) and the Supreme Court, mentions that 15 per cent reduction of the annual fee should be effected, the Kannada version sounds different. The latter mentions that only a monthly fee can be collected, which is a clear violation of the court order,” he said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, the department of public instruction had asked private schools that collected complete tuition fees during the previous academic year to reimburse 15 per cent of the same to the parents. The order clarified that schools can either refund the additional tuition fee collected or set off the same against the fees sought for the ongoing 2021-22 academic year. The order mentions that it applies to schools following both CBSE and ICSE syllabuses.

The Karnataka High Court in September directed private schools in the state to provide a 15 per cent discount in fee for the academic year 2020-21, taking note of facilities being underutilised due to academic sessions held only online due to the pandemic.

The court had passed the order while disposing of the petitions by school managements that questioned the state government’s order (dated January 29, 2021) that restrained all categories of private unaided schools from collecting more than 70 per cent of the tuition fees collected in the previous academic year (2019-20).

Several parent associations had approached their jurisdictional deputy directors of public Instruction and Block Education Officers recently alleging that school managements were not complying with the HC order stating that “they were unaware of the same” and “were awaiting an official order from the Karnataka government,” to either refund the extra fees or to adjust it with that of the ongoing year.

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