Private Schools in Odisha likely to Reduce Fees

Earlier this month, the Orissa High Court had directed the secretary of state school and mass education department to conduct a joint meeting of representatives of parents, teachers and private schools and resolve the concerns around the fee hike. Subsequently, a joint committee comprising of state government administrators, school authorities and parents presented a report in the High Court suggesting a reduction of school fee by 26 per cent.

As per reports, this recommendation is set to yield a successful result as school fees in around 6700 private schools across Odisha are all set to be reduced for the lockdown period.

The fee hike issue has been longstanding as three PILs have been filed before Orissa High Court seeking complete exclusion of tuition fees by private schools as the state government had declared the COVID-19 pandemic as a disaster.

“Near-unanimity could be achieved, except for the representative of one of the three PIL petitioners. All 14 members had signed an MoU agreeing for waiver of fees in a flat rate,” said Satyabrata Sahu, the principal department secretary of All Odisha Parents Association.

The recommendation made by the joint committee is:

  • No fee reduction in schools charging up to Rs 6,000 annually
  • 7.5 per cent fee reduction in schools charging fee between Rs 6,000 and Rs 12,000 per annum
  • 15 per cent fee reduction in schools charging Rs 24,000-Rs 48,000 per annum
  • 20 per cent fee cut in schools charging Rs 48,000-Rs 72,000 per annum
  • 25 per cent fee reduction in educational institutions charging between Rs 72,000 and Rs 100,000 per annum
  • 26 per cent fee reduction in schools charging more than Rs 100,000 per annum

Though these are the recommendation of several committees, the division bench of the Orissa High Court that is hearing the case has reserved its verdict after the hearing.

Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other members of the Odisha government have urged private institutions to decrease or reduce the school charges from April to June to support the parents whose incomes were adversely affected due to the lockdown.

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