The world is going through the dreadful coronavirus scare. Schools all over are closed and as a result of which, the usual academic session 2020-2021 is yet to begin. Some schools have started online classes to initiate this year’s session. Meanwhile, various states like Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana etc. have categorically asked schools not to force parents to pay school fees during the lockdown period. Does that mean parents need not pay fees at all for the lockdown period or in other words, does that mean parents need not pay fees for April-June quarter? Lets find out…
Schools are supposed to be ‘no-profit’ in nature. Schools however show their margin as salaries for principal/chairperson etc. While schools may not be conducting physical classes, they still need to pay their teachers in order to retain them. They also need to pay the support staff in the same way.
Hence, schools would still need funds to continue shadow operations. Keeping this in mind, some schools have already started online classes to keep the students as well as teachers busy. So we understand that school still needs parent to pay the fees even for lockdown period (directions are for mere deferral and not for any sort of waiver), albeit after lockdown is over. And hence parents will have to eventually pay even for April-June quarter. But could this be a discounted fees? We believe yes. Lets read on…
Schools will have to pay teachers for sure and they should pay as well. However, support staff, which is on monthly contract, may not be paid. Similarly, school’s infrastructural expense is negligible. For example, Electricity bills are negligible. Library, Computer room maintenance etc. is negligible for the said period. If buses are outsourced, the contract may not have been necessarily renewed. Hence, the Schools should definitely offer some discount over tuition and lab fees to parents (the admission and annual charges shall still be paid). Having been closely involved with the scheme of things in schools, we feel the schools could offer the following to parents (please note that this is just a suggested number and in no way correlates to any authority’s direction) :
1) Class 1 onward
– Fees should be discounted by 20% to 30% where online classes are happening. Else, 50% discount should be applied.
2) Pre-nursery to KG
– Heavier discounts between 50% to 80% shall be offered.
3) Alternatively, instead of offering discount for this quarter’s tuition fees, schools can resist any hike in year over year fees, which will get passed on as some relief to parents.
It is also worth noting that schools that have their own transport and transport staff, may have lesser discount by 10%. So, for example, for Pre-nursery to KG, such schools may offer 40% to 70% discounts instead.
The above suggestion is only for tuition/lab fees for April-June quarter and this will also depend upon whats the current ongoing margin for the school. We hereby assumed that the school is an established school with near optimal fees and 75% plus student capacity fulfilled. For a school with lesser number of students admitted (than capacity) and for those schools already offering heavy fee discounts, above may not apply. But we feel that still some discounts shall apply as a breather to parents.
Update: In Delhi, fee regulatory committee has currently put any fee hike on hold. No waiver may be granted but a direction to defer fees is expected this week.