Covid-19 Leads to Financial Distress in Private Schools, 40% May Close
The recent episode of Fair Talks, a panel discussion focused on issues affecting school community
Ms. Pooja Bose stated that the education of 321 million students were affected by the lockdown. Private unaided schoolsrely solely on fees from students. The resistance to fee payment has pushed the financially stressed education institutions to either let go of teachers or pay reduced salaries.
As per a research conducted by FairGaze on the school community consisting of students, parents and teachers, an overwhelming 74% agreed that the schools are justified in demanding fees from children to pay salaries to staff and expenses. More than 81% of those polled agreed that the schools are doing their best to manage children's education in lockdown and 66% agreed that online classes should continue after the lockdown ends.
Dr Khullar said that most schools are society or trust with a non-profit orientation and governed by strict tax regulations, which stipulates only 15% can be maintained as reserves to be used for welfare or development works. Salaries of teachers constitute 75% of a typical school and 15% are fixed cost, so effectively, about 90% of costs are of fixed nature for schools to bear.
On the parents resistanceto payment of fees, Manoj Mittal said that according to his research, the main reason behind this confusion is a circular from the Government on 17 April 2020 stipulating that parents are required to pay only the tuition fees, while the schools need to pay full salaries to teachers and no child can be denied education due to non-payment of fees. This adversely impacted schools' goodwill and the pious relationship between parents and schools.
Anirudh Khaitan expressed his gratitude to the teacher community who rose to the challenge of online education. He emphasised the urgent need for the schools and parents to discuss and find an amicable solution. He highlighted the grave situation facing school education with about 40% of the private schools looking to close down.
FairGaze (https://fairgaze.com) is the largest school media and an engagement ecosystem for holistic development.