This Article is Written by Manav Sony from Amity University, Kolkata. The Article talks about the Critical Analysis of the Nithari Killings which shook the entire Nation at once.
The Novel Coronavirus Pandemic has already killed around Lakhs of people and infected across Crores of Innocent People. Till now, we do not have an exact drug or vaccine so as to fight against this virus. Each and every day we see cases rising and even deaths too. The Nation is under the lockdown phase since 24th March and has started opening gradually. The pandemic has caused a huge blow to the entire market and economy. People have even lost their jobs and some have become homeless too. People are not even able to go out of their houses safely because they are under the fear of getting infected with the virus. India has faced one of the biggest loss in the economy since 2008. People are struggling to get a decent job now and even some companies are trying to either layoff the employees or cutting down their salaries so as to survive their functioning. But, one sector which has not at all given any sort of relief to the people are the Private Institutions i.e. Schools and Colleges. These institutions are charging fees like they used to do earlier. Many people have even protested against the same but still, they are not at all ready to provide any sort of relief. The educational institutions have started working on an overtime basis so as to adopt a new technology known as online learning modules and classes through an online platform to the homes of their students where they can study comfortably. Most of the institutions have already started conducting classes, giving time to time assignments, clearing the doubts of the students and also giving an assurance to the parents that their children will not at all face any sort of academic loss due to this pandemic. Most of the institutions have also paid salaries to their staff and have even raised the fees with certain relaxations and no late fines at all. But, many of the parents are facing a lot of financial constraints and are compounded by these sudden fee hikes which have been announced by all the various institutions. Therefore, the Union Human Resource Minister, Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal has issued an appeal to the institutions to reduce the fees during the academic sessions 2020-21 and ease the certain burden by launching EMI Method during this lockdown period and also directed the state departments to find out a solution for this which can be helpful for the benefit of the institutions and the parents. The main factor which comes over here is that these institutions were not even ready to face this consequence. They have a lot of staff and also, they have certain infrastructural requirements which they have to keep in mind in order to survive. Many institutions have launched the schemes of EMI Payment in which the parents can pay the fees on a monthly basis as per their choice. If the institutions do not cooperate with the current situation which the parents are actually facing then how can they afford the education of their children.
Steps Taken by Various State Governments
Talking about the steps, there are six various governments who have taken rigorous steps in order to make the institutions understand that they should not force to make any sort of payment in a hurry for the academic year or do not increase fees for the next academic year. There are certain states like Maharashtra and West Bengal who have asked the institutions to show sympathy or consider towards the parents while they collect the fees from them. If they are unable to pay on time, give them some time so that they can clear the dues slowly. Other states like Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka have issued strict orders against such fees hike by the institution. Delhi has threatened action under Provisions of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973, IPC and Disaster Management Act, 2005. The Telangana Government had initiated a notification which stated that non- compliance to the matters would directly result to the cancellation of the entire reputation of the school and also it would invoke serious actions against the entire management of the school under the Telangana Education Act, 1982 and also it would lead to strict cancellation of the no-objection certificate which was basically granted for affiliation to the boards CBSE, ICSE and IGCSE. Also, all the state governments that had issued certain circulars which were advisory in nature and that also moved towards enforcements under the tough basis of their discretions. For example, Delhi Government whose initial order was excess in the nature of advisory purposes and also on April 22nd, 2020, after creating a reiteration in the request made quite before, clearly declared that non-compliance to the matters would be viewed very strictly. Also, the Government of Maharashtra had issued a circular on 8th May that declared that fees charged by the private institutions should not at all be hiked for academic year 2020-1 and further on. If these rules are not followed strictly, then it would definitely lead to legal actions by the government. Most of the State Governments have taken a lot of great steps in giving equal justice to the institution authorities and even to the parents while some governments have also made a great modification to their rules and regulations. Besides, the governments of West Bengal and Maharashtra who have moved to more mandatory rules, the Karnataka government has taken a really faster and equitable approach to the institutional operations in giving justice. Talking about Karnataka, they had issued a circular on 30th March stating about schools so as to postpone the process of the collection of fees and also the process of admission for the current academic year till further orders. But the main thing which definitely has to be kept in mind regarding all the problems which are faced by all the institutions on the basis of providing salaries to the staff. On 24th April, the Karnataka state had issued an order that instead of paying the fees physically, the parents can pay it through the online method on one condition that the amount of the fee is given to the teaching staff as their salary and not used for any other purpose. Also, the institutions cannot cancel the admission of the students if the parents cannot pay the fees on time. We all need to understand that this situation is really tough and we need to understand that removing children from schools is not at all acceptable because the situation is worst and many parents are trying to earn bread for themselves. Many state governments have given a lot of contribution is making the situations flow at a proper rate and without any sort of chaos or protests by any of them.
Thus, while most states have taken cognisance of the hardships faced by students and parents primarily, and have ensured that education is not affected due to non-payment of fees, the degree in response amongst state governments is varied. To sum it up, burden of running schools, meeting costs, paying teachers, paying rents, upkeep of infrastructure and keeping the student engaged in learning from homes, has now shifted to a significant degree on to educational institutions. The states may need to approach this with equal consideration for all stakeholders, as the situation progresses. Since restrictions on schools will be one of the last ones to be lifted; governments will also have to take a holistic view with regard to scheduling academic year 2020-21, and admissions to colleges and entrance examinations thereafter, while ensuring that students from the lesser privileged sections of the society, who do not have access to online education, are not unfairly prejudiced.
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