Private schools to charge 50% tuition fees for online classes.

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This Petition is being prepared by parents of Bunts Sangha's S.M. Shetty High School, Powai, Mumbai, to draw the attention of Hon. State School Education Minister, Varshatai Gaikwad and Maharashtra State Government, to grievances faced by parents, and to request their intervention in the fees being demanded by private schools of Maharashtra under the pretext of online classes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease of COVID-19 as a Pandemic. In light of the same, Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Disaster Management Act, 2005 has being invoked in the State of Maharashtra. As a direct result of the unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19 global pandemic, parents have lost their sources of income, have had to endure salary cuts and business losses, while some are stranded in towns outside their home cities and State of Maharashtra. According to World Bank forecasts declared on June 8, 2020, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year. That would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War. [1] Parents who continue to pay 100% fees  for online classes may suffer financially when recession hits.

On the other hand, schools are securing their financial future by charging 100% fees for online classes. Schools are not bearing any overhead costs on account of electricity, fuel expenses, midday meals and any other variables involved. Yet, they are extracting 100% fees by pushing children and parents towards online classes.

Hence, we the citizens of State of Maharashtra, humbly request the Hon. State Education Minister, Varshatai Gaikwad and Maharashtra State Government to provide relief to parents by resolving the following grievances:-

Grievance] Parents are opposed to private schools charging 100% fees for online classes

Parents understand that private schools are not utilizing their own premises for online sessions. Teachers are working from their own homes using their own internet connections to provide educational services. By charging 100% fees for online classes, private schools are making significant earnings as their overheads are negligible for a locked school. On the contrary, parents would be further burdened financially with arrangement of a standalone laptop/tablet per child along with headphones, scanner, printer and high-speed internet connection consuming up to 2GB data daily for a single student undertaking online classes.

Due to technological limitations, intermittent internet connections, inefficient means of checking individual student academic progress and lack of physical presence of a dynamic classroom teacher, it is quite evident that parents would have to self-contribute towards their children’s daily education. This will significantly burden parents who are working from home as well as commuting to offices. In sum, the effectiveness of online sessions would not be equivalent to classroom sessions. Charging 100% fees for online classes is extremely unfair to parents who are facing a financial crisis of an unprecedented nature for no fault of theirs.

Is it fair for parents who have lost their jobs, have had salary cuts or endured massive business losses, to remove their children from school as they are unable to pay 100% school fees? Is this the right time for private schools to profit from the global pandemic when the world is facing the worst global recession since Second World War?

Solution: Parents would like private schools to only charge 50% of the tuition fee on a monthly basis for online classes. No other unutilized fee heads should be charged for online classes. This is solely to ensure schools pay salaries to their teaching and non-teaching staff as well as undertake routine school maintenance. Schools can commence collection of 100% tuition fees plus other fee heads on a monthly basis only after it begins admitting children inside their premises and only for the months when school provided classroom sessions.  

Conclusion: The above solutions, when implemented, would go a long way in securing the financial future and well-being of all parents, teachers as well as private school management. No one is responsible for the calamity that has befallen humanity. But, as a global community, we can all help each other by sharing the burden now during the pandemic and in the future when the recession strikes.

Stand with us, as we raise our voices for the safety of our children. Sign and share this petition.

For our children, the future of our nation!