Suryakant Jena

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has asked the Centre, Odisha government (School & Mass Education Secretary) along with CBSE, ICSE Boards and other parties to ensure that all students avail the facility of online classes during Covid crisis irrespective of the payment of tuition fees.

Accepting a writ petition filed by Odisha Parents' Association chairman Basudev Bhatt, the State apex court has sought response from the parties on the waiver of school tuition fees for the current academic year as a measure to help ease the burden on people.

It may be noted that several instances were reported from the State where private schools were allegedly charging tuition fees and other allied bills for 4 months during lockdown. However, parents protested the collection of fees.

Hearing the petition filed against the move, the High Court has asked the governments and educational boards to ensure that all students be provided ID and password for online classes until a decision on the waiver of fees is taken.

On April 29, hearing a PIL filed by advocate Prahallad Rout of Bhubaneswar, the High Court had also issued similar notices to the Centre and the State government seeking response on why all government, as well as private educational institutions, should not waive off monthly tuition fees and transportation charges of students in view of the lockdown necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The petitioner had also appealed the HC to pass necessary direction for extension of relief in the shape of food grains, LPG cylinder, and monthly benefit to all citizens except government and private employees or pensioners during the lockdown.