Private schools stop online classes after Gujarat govt’s ‘no fee’ order

Private schools in Gujarat have suspended online classes for an indefinite period from Thursday, after a state government order said they should not collect fees from students until the schools reopen.

In a notification issued last week, the Gujarat government directed self-financed schools in the state not to collect tuition fees from students as long as they remain shut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also asked these schools not to hike fees for the academic year 2020-21.

Unhappy with the move, a union of representing nearly 15,000 self-financed schools in Gujarat decided to put on hold online classes, an alternative arrangement started earlier this month for students.

Majority of these schools informed the parents through SMS on Wednesday night that there will not be any online classes for their wards from Thursday.

Self-financed School Management Association’s spokesperson Dipak Rajyaguru on Thursday said almost all the self-financed schools in the state refrained from imparting online education.

“If the government believes online education is not real education, then there is no meaning of imparting such unreal education to our students. Online education will remain suspended until the government withdraws that notification,” Rajyaguru said in a statement.

He said the association will also approach the high court against state government’s decision.

Jatin Bharad, a prominent educationist and member of the association, said there is no alternative to online education in the present scenario.

“Self-financed schools need to pay salaries to the teachers and other staff. No state in India has taken such decision that fees cannot be collected despite conducting online classes. If we adhere to the state notification, it will be impossible for us to pay salaries and run the school.

Thus, we have decided to suspend the online classes,” said Bharad said.

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