Parents have complained that many non-government schools in Dhaka took re-admission fees and session fees flouting the government instructions passed in last November for not taking such fees amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some parents said that imposing big amount of readmission fees and session fees set by the schools appeared as a burden on them amid the outbreak, which was discouraging them to admit their children.
‘We are struggling to survive after my husband has lost his job during staff-shedding at his workplace amid COVID-19 pandemic. But, the school authorities say that I will have to pay Tk 3,500 as readmission fee for the continuation of education of my daughter in Class IX,’ said a parent of a student of Madartek Abdul Aziz School and College on Saturday.
Madartek Abdul Aziz School and College principal Md Aktaruzzaman admitted that the school was taking about Tk 3,000 to Tk 4,000 as readmission fees from students of Class I to Class IX.
‘We took readmission fees as the government had not issued any circular mentioning the instruction,’ Aktar said.
The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education issuing a circular in November asked schools and colleges not to charge readmission fees, tiffin fees, library fees, laboratory fees in the next academic year if the COVID-19 situation continued after December.
It also asked government and non-government schools and colleges to refund the library fees, magazine fees, tiffin fees, laboratory fees and development fees that they had charged during admission or readmission which remained unused due to the suspension of regular classroom activities from March.
A circular issued by the directorate of secondary and higher education also asked the institutions to waive tuition fees for students from poor and low-income families.
But, the parents said that none of the schools refunded a single paisa from any fee they had charged while taking admission of their children in January 2020.
Showing different other purposes, they said, the schools were forced them to pay over Tk 3,000 in addition to the tuition fees.
Explaining the reason for not refunding fees, Siddheswari Girls School head teacher Md Shahabuddin Mollah said that all schools had already spent all the fees that they charged from the students during their admissions or readmissions in 2020 and therefore there was no scope for readjustment of the fees.
‘Before the closure of schools in March, we arranged annual sports, milads and others ceremonies,’ he said adding that the school had to count huge amount of utility bills amid the closure of the school as the police members stayed at the school compound.
‘This year we charged the similar fees as we will have to spend those. But, it cannot be called as readmission fee or session fee,’ Shahabuddin said.
Goran Adarsha High School head teacher Mohammad Abul Hossain said that the school did not take any readmission fee.
‘Some ad-hoc teachers who lost jobs from the school amid the closure of the schools amid the COVID-19 outbreak might have circulated fabricated news for tarnishing image of the school,’ Abul explained.
Director general of DSHE Syed Golam Faruk said that he would look into the matter and take necessary actions.
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