Ever since the COVID-19 lockdown brought the world to a standstill, businesses were majorly affected. Schools, colleges and other educational institutes were shut down during the lockdown and many shifted to online teaching methods. But doing so, schools landed themselves in a major controversy of convincing parents to pay full school fees. While dust slowly started to settle on that, Delhi Public School, Srinagar, got into trouble for allegedly barring a class-2 student from online classes over unfair fee demand.
As a result, the J&K government has issued a notice to DPS Srinagar and asked the school principal to appear before the court on Saturday, Hindustan Times reported. The school has also been asked to restore online classes for the child. The school hasn't commented or issued a clarification.
International Business Times tried reaching out to DPS, Srinagar for a comment, but no one was available due to non-business hours on a weekend. The story will be duly updated with the response.
Parents in despair over unjust fees
Parents were shocked to learn that their child, a class-2 student, was barred from attending online classes by DPS Srinagar. The reason for this was pending fees for school utilities such as transportation, heater etc, which were not availed during the lockdown period. The parents said they managed to pay the monthly school fee during the curfew and lockdown period, still, their child was barred from getting education.
"For around 20 months since August 2019 when restrictions were imposed in Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 and due to the Covid lockdown my daughter has not been to school. However, I still paid the monthly fee during the curfew and lockdown period amounting to ₹56,400. The pending sum includes transportation charges, a service that they did not provide and annual charges such as heating charges. When our child did not attend school, how are these charges justified? This is unscrupulous exploitation on part of the school," the student's father, Wajahat Waseem was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Waseem said the unpaid dues were amounting to Rs 24,000 towards the annual charges for services the UT government had barred schools from charging during the lockdown.
Owing to this, Waseem and his wife Nuzhat Wajahat raised a complaint with the the school, saying they violated provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. They even sought refund of Rs 1,10,000 admission fee so they could admit their daughter in a different school.