The Council of CBSE schools, Kerala, in a memorandum to CM Pinarayi Vijayan, urged the government to allow the schools collect fees from those who are willing and able to pay. A total ban would pose a threat to the existence of the institutions struggling to meet the salary expense of staff. In the backdrop of the lockdown, the CM had said that no unaided schools should demand fees from students during this crisis period.
It has been the practice of CBSE schools to collect the remaining fee dues for the academic year in the month of March. The amount thus collected are utilised for meeting salary expenses for March and the summer vacation period (April and May), because fresh fees can be collected only when the school reopens in June, the memorandum says.
Now schools are prevented from asking any type of payment. As such, the entire revenue of the schools has virtually dried up, making it extremely impossible to pay salaries. However, the CM has advised unaided school managements not to collect fees but pay staff salary without fail, it says.
“We understand that the intention is to assist the needy. We would like to suggest, those who can pay the fees may be allowed to remit the fees through electronic modes,” the memorandum says.
Meanwhile, the Kerala State CBSE School Management Association has written to Vijayan seeking permission to collect the last-term fees. Without collecting fees, which is the only source of income for unaided schools, the government’s direction to remit the salary of teaching and non-teaching staff cannot be fulfilled, the association said.
There are nearly 1,500 unaided CBSE schools in Kerala, all of them run by charitable trusts or societies. They don’t receive any aid from the government or any other agency. Their only source of income is the fees collected from students. Under the above circumstances, the government may enunciate a scheme to provide an interest-free loan or withdraw the direction on fee collection, said the letter signed by TPM Ibrahim Khan, association’s president.
The letter also said the schools are struggling to meet various other expenses towards the maintenance of the schools.