Parents of the students of a reputed private school in south Kolkata on Saturday staged a demonstration in front of the institute demanding "rational and justified" fees in the current session of 2020-21 in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The demonstration was held as the authorities of the G D Birla Centre for Education did not respond to repeated requests of the guardians to discuss some components of the fees, which are "not justified", and steps to be taken by the school towards the safety of the students when the institute reopens, the school's parents association said.
"We protested today to demand that unjustified and irrational components of fees be suspended. Many parents are undergoing hardships because of the lockdown," G D Birla Centre for Education general secretary Manasi Mukhopadhyay Banerjee said.
Banerjee wondered why the school management remained elusive for a meeting on fees when the last date of payment, June 30, is nearing and explain their views if they feel the fees are justified.
A school official said the institute is closed till June 30 and it is difficult to arrange a meeting now.
"Discussions on the issues the parents are raising can take place after the school reopens," he said.
Banerjee said the parents may have to continue their agitation.
The parents said the authorities should not make extracurricular activities (ECA) mandatory and charge for stationery items till the school reopens and should consider waiver of session fees in this time of crisis.
The school charges ECA fees is around Rs 8,500 and session fees is about Rs 12,500.
"We are not saying that we will not pay the fees but we want some adjustment considering the problems faced by people during this pandemic," a parent said.
The Delhi government had invoked the Disaster Management Act and directed all private schools only to charge tuition fees and not to expel students for non-payment of fees, Banerjee said.
"So far as the issues of common people are concerned, it appears that Delhi thinks ahead of West Bengal," she said.
West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee has requested private schools not to hike tuition fees and left the decision on other fees matter on the respective school authorities.