CUTTACK: The issue of school fee waiver, being adjudicated by the Orissa High Court, took a new turn on Thursday with the Association of Odisha ICSE Schools raising objection to the report submitted by the Principal Secretary of School and Mass Education department.
The report stated that following mediation with different stakeholders, an MoU was signed on different slabs of fees reduction for separate categories of unaided private schools. In an affidavit, association secretary Father S Joseph opposed the report on the ground that English medium schools like the 50 DAV and around 100 ICSE schools functioning in the State were not among the stakeholders who signed the M0U.
He contested the report of the Principal Secretary stating it is based on a so called MoU submitted before the Secretary by some vested interest persons who claimed to be the stakeholders representing the DAV or ICSE schools associations.
“Furthermore, the Principal Secretary has not given opportunity to other institutions who have requested to have a say in the matter. Hence, such a report of the Principal Secretary is not acceptable”, he said, adding, “If at this juncture such an illegal and biased report will be accepted then the ICSE schools and many other institutions will suffer irreparable loss and would unable to manage their institution”. The division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Biswanath Rath adjourned the hearing to December 15.
Joseph also negated the Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangha’s claim in an affidavit that a resolution issued by the department on September 23, 1996 gives the State the power to regulate the fees being charged by the schools. “The resolution lost its significance after introduction of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and the Rules, 2010 framed by the State and Central governments”, Joseph contended.