Aman Sood & Karam Prakash
Tribune News Service
Patiala, April 8
The Education Department has served notice on 38 private schools in Punjab for demanding fee from students during the lockdown. The Education Minister has warned of strict action against schools for “unnecessarily harassing parents” by sending notices/fee reminders.
Despite orders by the department “not to demand for tuition fee for the next session” during the lockdown period, these schools had been forcing parents to make payments.
“I had asked the department to slap notices on erring schools but instead of revoking their fee reminders via text messaging, some are even calling up parents,” said Education Minister Vijayinder Singla.
Of the 38 schools, six are from CM Amarinder Singh’s home town Patiala. Besides, 10 schools in Mohali; seven in Ludhiana; three each in Amritsar and Hoshiarpur; two in Jalandhar; and one each in Faridkot, Sangrur, Kapurthala, Fazilka, Fatehgarh Sahib, Pathankot, Bathinda and Barnala have been served notice.
In fact, some school managements have asked parents to deposit fee or face cancellation of their wards’ admission. Ashok Khatri, a parent, said: “I am being asked to deposit fee or my son’s name be struck off.” Another parent in Patiala said he had been served notice to “deposit fee online”.
In a message by one of the private schools, its principal said they had to clear dues and meet expenses and the only way to do it was by “not blocking anyone’s payment”.
The department said notices had been issued following complaints that schools were not adhering to the orders. “If they still continue to demand fee, we will cancel their licenses,” said an official.
Singla said the list of the 38 schools had been shared with district education officers for necessary action. “In these trying times, some schools are troubling residents. This is sheer harassment and it will not be tolerated,” he said.
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