TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: After CBSE hiked its exam fees, teachers and admins of various government schools in Delhi are scrambling to collect the Money for those pupils who are unable to pay the high fees themselves. The last date for schools to submit the list of students appearing for board exams is October 15.
The exam fees of classes X and XII increased the previous year exponentially. At the time the Delhi government had promised to pay the fees itself for government school students. But recently when approached, it backed away stating the lack of finances, which left several economically weaker families in a lurch.
In response to the hardships faced by these families regarding the fees, many teachers and other stakeholders in the government schools have come to fore to collect the amount required. The fees to be paid can vary between Rs 1,800 TO Rs 2,500. According to Gunjan Gover, school management committee (SMC) coordinator to Northeast Delhi District I and an SMC representative of a girls’ school in Burari,
“We have set up a help desk in our school to help parents with admissions. Some parents approached us and said they cannot pay the exam fees. At first, we said there’s nothing we could do to waive the fee and they will have to pay it. But day before yesterday, a visibly distressed family came to the school, and we were moved to contribute Rs 500 each for the fees. Members of other SMCs of schools in areas like Ghonda, Gokalpur and Karawal Nagar have also informed me of other such extremely distressed families. So, between ourselves, we have raised the amount for fees for 12-13 students, and through donors — businesses, NGOs, wealthy relatives — for around five children,”
Gover has also helped finance the exam fees of 15 students so far.
Apart from the teaching staff, the principals and vice-principals are also putting in their share of help.
As per the principal of a school in Northwest Delhi,
“By now, around 90% of students have paid their fees. If any child comes forward and says he or she cannot pay, and if their class teacher can verify they are very strained, we will find a way to pay their fees. So far, we found that six students who came forward will be unable to pay. We teachers have put together the amount between ourselves and will use the school’s Pupil Welfare Fund if the need arises,”
The vice-principal of a Government Co-ed Senior Secondary School at Sector 8, Rohini asked her batchmates from Springales School for help in financing the students’ exam fees,
“The process of collection is almost over, but the vice-principal and I have put together Money for the fees of 10 children, most of whom do not have parents, from our own pockets. Our vice-principal is the alumni of Springdales School and has made an appeal to a group of her batchmates. From that, we have raised funds for two girls, one of whom is an orphan and another whose parents lost work during the lockdown,” explained the Principal, Awadhesh Jha.
Additionally, the All India Parents’ Association has broadcasted messages on social media and emails asking people for donations.
Despite all the efforts of everyone involved, it is still inadequate for accommodating all the students with financial stress. Gover regretted that she and other SMC stakeholders have to sift through and make judgements on who should be treated on a priority basis depending on the urgency of their needs.
AIPA president Ashok Agarwal added,
“Money has started coming in, but the scale of the problem is very large. A few days ago, three separate people contributed Rs 500 each to me for this purpose, but this doesn’t cover the fee of even one student. Whereas, in every school, there are going to be multiple children for whom paying will be very difficult,”
The efforts of the faculties and others are entirely laudable and should be appreciated. COVID-19 has already financially crunched a lot of families, with many losing their jobs, making it hard for them to pay the exam fees, many find it hard even to make ends meet. With such examples to follow, other people will also come forward in helping the students.