Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi has issued Order directing Private Schools to not to charge any fee component other than tuition fees till the opening of the institution in view of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent Nationwide Lockdown.
Delhi Government has to act after some schools have increased the fee in the academic session 2020-21 without taking cognizance of the prevailing situations in view of the announcement of lockdown by the Central Government and despite the enforcement of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 for prevention and containment of COVID-19 and also without compliance of the mandatory provision of Sections 17 (3) of Delhi School Education Act 1973 and several other guidelines issued by the Department from time to time in this regard.
“Some Schools have increased the fee without seeking approval of Director (Education) even though they are running on the land allotted by the DDA/Other Land Owing Agencies with such condition…,” it said.
Delhi Government said, that charging of fees from the students under the New heads is in violation of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as the directions of the Directorate of Education.
“…whereas, it has also been learnt that some private schools have started providing online learning material/ classes to the students of their respective schools for the academic session 2020-2021 so as to cover the learning / curricular activities of this academic session. This is a welcome step in the interest of students. However, it is a matter of grave concern that some schools are found indulging in the malpractices which are inhuman, especially in view of the outbreak of Corona Virus (COVID-19),” said Delhi Government.
Directorate of Education, Delhi Government being conferred with responsibilities under Section 39 (i) of Disaster Management Act, 2005 in exercise of powers under Section 17(3) of DSEA,1973 read with Rule 43, DSEAR, 1973 today directed all Heads/Managers of the private unaided schools of Delhi:-
- To not charge any fees, except tuition fee from the parents till further orders.
- Heads of the schools should not demand and collect tuition fee from parents/students on quarterly basis. The fee has to be collected only on monthly basis.
- In the academic session 2020-2021, fee is not to be increased till further directions irrespective of the fact whether school is running on private land or the land is owned by DDA/ other Government land owning agencies.
- School running on land allotted by DDA / other land owning agencies with condition to seek approval of Director(Education) before any fee increase, shall collect tuition fee on basis of last fee structure approved by Director(Education) or as per fee statement filed by them for Session 2015-16
- Heads of Schools shall ensure to provide access of Online education/materials/ classes to all students without any discrimination by providing them ID/ Password to get them online education facility
- Heads of schools in any case shall not deny ID and password to those students/ parents for getting online access of educational facilities who are unable to pay school fees due to financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities in the lockdown condition.
- Heads of schools shall not create any extra burden by creating new head of fee.
- Payment of monthly salary shall not be stopped and existing total emoluments to teaching and non-teaching staff of schools shall not be reduced in name of non-availability of funds and in case of shortfalls, be obtained from Society/Trust running the school.
Violation of above directions shall invoke penal action under DSEAR, 1973 and IPC and also under Section 51(b), Disaster Management Act, 2005 which provides that, without reasonable cause,
“Refusal to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of Central or State Government or National Executive Committee or State Executive Committee or District Authority under this Act, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or fine, or both and if such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions, results in loss of lives or imminent danger, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years”
Above directions came in wake of incidents of private schools charging fees from students under new heads, not providing of ID/Password of online classes to students who could not pay illegally increased fees due to financial crunch, demanding and collecting of fee from parents on quarterly basis and private schools not paying salary to teaching and non-teaching staff or paying lesser salary.
-India Legal Bureau