BENGALURU: With most schools across the state refusing to accept the scrapped currency notes, parents are facing acute stress this month when it comes to paying the term fee due to confusion on mode of payment.
There is no clear cut-rule in place. A few schools are accepting payment in the old notes, some insist on new notes while some insist on payment through Demand Draft or cheques.
D Raj, whose daughter is studying at Sacred Heart Girls High School on Richmond Road, speaks of the agony he underwent before he could pay Rs 10,300 in new notes. “After the announcement on November 8, we received a message saying that fee will continue to be accepted in the old notes. Our relief soon turned to despair when a message nullifying it was sent a day later,” he said.
The message from the school said, “Dear parents, the banned currency notes will not be accepted from tomorrow for fee collection by the bank, as informed by them. Kindly pay with the new currency.”
An Indian Overseas Bank counter for fee collection is located within the school premises and it accepts the fee from 9 am to 11 am.”
“The tuition fee of Rs 7,500, which has to be paid every November, plus the regular monthly fee instalment of Rs 2,800 had to be remitted. I faced a terrible time before I could mobilise so much money standing in a long queue with ATMs not working at many places,” added Raj.
He said the neighbouring Bishop Cotton Boys’ School was accepting the old notes. Confirming it, School Prinicipal Father John Zacharaiah said, “We have a Union Bank of India counter on our premises and they have been accepting old notes even after demonetisation.”
Management of Independent CBSE Schools Association, Karnataka, General Secretary, Mansoor Ali Khan concedes this is a big issue for parents now. “There is a lot of confusion on this. Since the government made these notes illegal, schools, including Delhi Public School, are not accepting them. We have requested all schools to take cheques or demand drafts and that is being followed now,” he said.
The fee amount ranges between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 and if the sum is collected for 500 students, it would come to around Rs 6 lakh. “Collection of such huge cash at this time could make them come under the Income Tax Department’s scanner. Hence, DDs or cheques is the right option,” he added.
D Shashi Kumar, General Secretary, Karnataka Associated Management of English Medium Schools, says that most schools under its banner comprise budget schools and State Board schools. “There is no question of collecting the old notes as the government has made them illegal. It is wrong to collect them and we have asked schools to abide by this directive,” he said.
Most parents are part of the unorganised workforce like taxi drivers, autorickshaw drivers, daily labourers and similar professions.
“Standing in a queue to change notes would be a loss of a day’s wages for them. We have asked the schools not to charge late fee payment for up to 10 days delay this month,” he added.
‘State government cannot do much to redress the situation ’
Commissioner for Public Instruction Sowjanya said the Education Department cannot do anything to redress this situation. “This is a monetary policy decision by the Central government. They have issued guidelines on payment for government hospitals and a few sectors. Nothing has been specified related to schools and we do not have the powers to issue any directive on this at all.”