Dwarka School Denies E-Classes to Students Over Fee, Allows Later
Parents allege the school stopped sharing links of online classes after they failed to pay fees for the 1st quarter.
The difference of opinion between parents and teachers across various states over collection of school fees during lockdown took an ugly turn for students of JM International School in Dwarka, West Delhi, on Monday, 13 April.
Online lessons were not shared with a section of parents who had demanded that the school should charge only the tuition fees for the period of the lockdown when the school is shut.
The Quint has accessed the screenshots of parents’ conversations with teachers who stopped responding to calls and messages. The students had not received lesson plans since 13 April.
However, following an email from The Quint to the school on the issue, the online classes have now been allowed. But the school has so far failed respond to queries sent to it.
A teacher, who had earlier stopped responding to parents, first said it was due to a technical snag. However, she later confirmed that she had been asked to not sending the online classes.
“I was informed to stop your services...I guess you had applied for TC (transfer certificate)...that’s what I was told...I was just following the guidelines.”A teacher’s message to a parent
One of the parents, along with other income-hit parents, told The Quint that they had not applied for TC and had only asked the school to drop annual charges.
Here’s What Happened Before
After receiving only one-fourth of his monthly salary from a coronavirus-hit aviation company since February, Neeraj along with other parents had requested his son’s school to charge the tuition fee only.
Little did he know that the private school in Dwarka would not only prevent his son and at least 22 others from accessing online classes but would also ask teachers to block the lockdown-hit parent on WhatsApp.
Throughout April, Neeraj along with other parents had emailed the school, requesting that the school drop annual charges like development fee and charge tuition fee only on a monthly basis, till it reopens.
Out of the Rs 35,000 Neeraj had to pay this quarter, only 15,000 was labelled as tuition fee and the rest was included under other charges. The school, he says, had waived transport and meal charges, but did not waive annual charges like development fee.
The Quint has accessed the school’s reply on 11 April, in which it told parents that the institution was under financial duress and had not raised fee for the last five years. The school also said that it would consider breaking the quarterly fee into monthly fee, if parents provided no-pay slips.
Neeraj says that he did not provide the no-pay slip as the school had not waived annual and developmental charges but only agreed to break it into monthly fee. This, he says, is in stark contrast to their demands that the school charge tuition feels only on a monthly basis. The Quint has seen a screenshot of his bank statement in which he has received less than Rs 10,000 as salary in the month of March.
“How can I pay this amount? I have a family to take care of and that, too, without any salary since February,” he says.
Attempt to Blackmail, Says Parent
Manish (name changed), who works in the marketing division of a multinational company, has lost upto 30 percent of his salary that depends on monthly sales. Like Neeraj, he too, had petitioned the school to drop annual charges, but was eventually blocked by teachers on WhatsApp.
Manish, whose son is in the sixth grade, adds that while Zoom links and ID passwords are not being shared with the parents who had requested the school to charge tuition fee only, some parents who have still not paid up but did not drop any such email, continue to access online classes being conducted by the school.
“They are blackmailing parents and trying to create pressure. I have never defaulted or delayed school fee for the last year. This is a matter of survival now. We are just asking the school to meet its basic expenses through tuition fee so that teachers and staff can be paid.”
Out of a total of Rs 33,000 Manish has to pay this quarter, tuition fees make up for Rs 15,000, which, he says, parents are willing to pay. It is the remaining Rs 18,000 in annual and smart class charges that parents have raised an objection to.
Another parent, whose child studies in the third grade of the same school, confirmed that the school had prevented some students from accessing online classes after parents refused to pay annual charges.
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