As a repercussion of nation-wide lockdown due to the outbreak of the catastrophic Covid-19 virus, the businesses and jobs have been shut except the essential services, and thus it has weighed down the budget of the people.

The economy has been badly hit, and the share market has shown a drastic downward slope since the outbreak of the coronavirus. People are running out of their financial resources, and the problem arises when they have to choose between their survival and other services.

Fees – A major concern in this lockdown

Parents and students have been distressed about paying their institution’s fees amid the lockdown when the sources of their financial income are shut down.

The institutions have been asking for their regular fees that include not only the tuition fees but also the fees that the students would use if they were attending the institution physically.

This has become an issue of concern as a majority of parents are drained financially in this crisis and are worried as they do not want to put their kid’s future at stake.

Amidst this global crisis, some institutions are planning on taking advantage of the vulnerability of the parents by hiking their fees by a significant amount. In the time where parents are not able to pay the regular fees, they are not sparing them by asking for transportation fees, co-curriculum fees, etc.

An appeal by AICTE

An appeal was made by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) to all the technical institutions in the country to not charge fees from the students until the lockdown is over or the situation normalizes.

This appeal was made in the form of two letters. The first letter talked about the insistence about not asking for fees from the students until the lockdown is completely over. It has stated that the institutions should not hike the fees for the academic year 2020-21.

It persuaded the institutions to share this information with the students immediately through the email or to present the information on their official website.

The second letter was written to take down the issue of the standalone institutions that were trying to inflate their fees. The standalone institutions are those that are neither universities nor are they affiliated to any university as such.

They are basically the self-governing institutions that have the compliance to offer the selected courses. The letter to these institutions stated that the admission fees or any other fees should not be hiked, and the institutions should not ask selected candidates to pay any kind of advance fees during the course of lockdown.

HRD pleads too

The second notice by the AICTE was issued after the Ministry of the Human Resource Development (HRD) communicated to the states and the Union territories of the nation to write to the technical institutes of the country to not increase the fee.

The Higher Education Secretary, Amit Khare, directed a letter to all the states and the union territories of the country stating to protect the interests of the students in the critical time when the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has not just affected the lives but also the economy of the country.

He requested to send an appeal to all the technical institutions in their state/union territory to eschew any raise in the admission fee or any other fee for the academic year 2020-21.

This appeal came out as a result of the complaints received by the government regarding a few technical institutions asking the students to pay the fee in the lockdown.

Apart from this, the HRD minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, also pleaded to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) to not raise their fees for this year.

Role of State governments

After receiving the order from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the states pleaded the technical instructions to avoid any hike in their fee structure and to not force students into paying their fee until the lockdown is over and the situation has been normalized.

In addition to this, the states also asked the private schools to not raise their fees as the parents would not be able to pay it while facing the financial hardships in the time of lockdown.

It also asked the private schools to not force the parents into paying the fees during the course of lockdown, and it also requested to waive off the extra fee like the transportation fee in the light of financial crisis faced by the majority of people in the country during the critical time of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The state governments in a few states also said that the failure of paying the fees by a student should not ban the student from taking online classes.

In this time when the salaries and the sources of financial income are suffering, the economy has gone down the drain, and the people are struggling to survive during the lockdown posed due to the upsurge of the spread of the fatal novel coronavirus, the initiative was taken by the government to appeal to the institutions to not hike their fees or to forcefully extract it from the students or the parents is an extremely important step to relieve the strain posed on the pockets of the people due to the fall in the economy.

It is time to come together as a nation and fight the disease to get the nation back on track. People need to understand the situation and support each other through this pandemic so that the future of the students is not put on stake if they are not able to pay their fees.

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Source – The Print 

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