GUWAHATI, April 22 - State government today asked all the private schools of Assam, across all educational boards, to waive off 50 per cent of the school fees for the month of March. The schools also cannot increase their fees without prior permission from the Government of Assam till the COVID-19 induced situation prevails.
State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today told the mediapersons here that the step has been taken as a goodwill gesture to provide some succor to all sections of people amid the ongoing crisis. However, the school authorities cannot curtail the salaries of the teachers and non-teaching staff of the schools.
The fee waiver will be applicable on the lump sum amount of a month�s school fee, from pre-primary level to class XII.
Sarma also warned that the private schools not complying with the directives will be closed down under the Disaster Management Act.
�We have talked to some of the schools who readily agreed to extend their support to this move. We are confident that other private schools would also willingly comply, considering it as a token of goodwill. Institutions that have already collected the fee for the month of March (which is collected in April) will have to adjust the concession in next installment. On the other hand, schools willing to increase the concession rate, can do so,� the Minister stated.
It may be noted that all schools and colleges of the State were closed from March 16, and all other activities came to a halt due to nationwide lock down from March 24.
�The school fees cannot be increased without permission from the government. And in present situation granting any permission for fee hike is out of question,� he added.
There are approximately 2,200 private schools in Assam.
On loss of academic days the Minister said that even if the lockdown continued till May 31, total 52 academic days will be lost.
�Fifty two days can be managed through taking full classes on Saturdays, and even Sundays if necessary. We can also curtail the summer vacation and declared holidays like the Durga Puja holidays. However, if it continues beyond that, it will be very difficult to manage the academic year. We have asked the department to prepare a contingency plan for such a situation,� the Minister added.