Parents reluctant to pay fee

Many are uncertain on accepting online mode of education


Even as the Central and State governments are opening up various sectors in different phases of Unlock to let a semblance of normalcy to return, fear continues to grip the domain of school education.

Private schools are already finding it hard to make ends meet, in view of the mismatch between fees and salaries. The schools are not ready to open up with the lurking fear of the spread of coronavirus. Children, being susceptible to the virus, are perceived to become sitting ducks and even act as ‘faster carriers’.

“Any attempt to open up at this time, when the number of cases is still increasing and in the absence of a vaccine, may be remunerative for schools but will affect students the most,” opines K.S. Vasu, legal adviser of the Andhra Pradesh Private Unaided School Managements’ Association (APPUSMA) and the general secretary of its Tirupati unit.

The reported media statement by Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh that the academic year had not yet been officially opened added to parents’ confusion on whether to pay fee and accept online mode of education. Many parents The Hindu has spoken to have expressed unwillingness to pay fee, taking refuge in the Minister’s statement.

Warning to schools

On the other hand, schools are rattled by the warning issued by School Education Commissioner Vadrevu China Veerabhadrudu against retrenchment or non-payment of salaries to teachers.

Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (APSERMC) chairperson Justice R. Kantha Rao had cautioned school managements not to enhance fee for the current academic year and also collect the same in two instalments from parents, in view of the COVID-19 situation that had wreaked havoc on the economy.

“The schools must sanitise the entire campus, ensure physical distancing in school buses and dining area, avoid gatherings at the assembly and make masks compulsory. Whenever the government decides, the schools will be allowed to open up only if the managements provided a self-declaration to this effect,” warns the commission’s member V. Narayana Reddy.

Though the commission is empowered to take a call on the issue and ensure compliance by schools, it is waiting for an official announcement from the government.