| File picture of a DAV school in Cuttack |
Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, Dec. 19: The DAV school management revoked its decision to collect enhanced fee till further orders from the Supreme Court, marking a moral victory for the students’ guardians, who have been agitating on the issue for the past one week.
As of now, the decision has been conveyed to the four DAV schools in Cuttack. The management said it would take a decision with regards to other schools if approached by respective parents’ associations. DAV runs nearly 40 schools, including four each in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, in the state.
“Without any prejudice to the case in the Supreme Court, the schools shall not impose the collection of fees at hiked rates as the case would come up for hearing on January 14,” said regional director of DAV institutions Himanshu Kumar Mohanty.
The decision was taken after disgruntled parents of the students of DAV Sati Choura staged a roadblock for an hour, demanding withdrawal of the fee hike decision. The meeting between the parents’ association and the DAV management took place in the presence of DCP-Cuttack S. Praveen Kumar.
“We have called off the strike as the fee hike decision has been kept in abeyance till the Supreme Court gives its order,” said All Odisha DAV Parents’ Co-ordination Committee convener Aptakam Mishra.
Fee hike in DAV schools has remained a controversial issue since private English medium institutions raised tuition fees from 2009-10 academic session on the plea of payment of salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff members as per the Sixth Pay Commission pay scale.
Last year in September, Orissa High Court ruled against the fee hike in the twin cities. A division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda had endorsed an earlier court ruling, which said the “Orissa Education Act is applicable to the DAV schools, which are affiliated to the CBSE. The managing committee is to be constituted in accordance with the Orissa Education Act and not as per the affiliation by-laws of the CBSE.”
DAV regional director had then moved the Supreme Court, which had asked for income and expenditure statement of the schools in the state by mid-May. The apex court ordered to constitute an interim committee to take a decision. On November 23, the committee, headed by special secretary of the school and mass education department I.C. Barda, ordered a three-fold hike in fee ranging between Rs 900 and Rs 1,200.
Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, who is a member of the interim committee, had written to the state government, alleging that Barda had taken the decision independently. He said that despite three meetings, the members could not arrive at a conclusion because of incomplete details about the financial status of the DAV schools. Hence, the “unilateral” decision violated the court order.