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Samoon sits over after a tweet as parents, schools in Kashmir spar on fee waiver

Srinagar: The government is silent over the long-pending issue of rebate of tuition fees for the COVID period even as the parents and school bodies are on a warpath over the matter ahead of the annual examinations.

Aftera single tweet by Principal Secretary School Education Asgar Samoon last month, in which he suggested government may offer 30 percent reduction in tuition fees, the authorities have kept the matter hanging in the balance with no official ready to offer a final word on it.

Schools in the meantime are cornering parents to pay the entire fee as the latter continue to wait for an official order or clarification from the government on the matter.

“We do not understand the reason for the delay. Final exams are approaching and parents are being asked to pay full tuition fees. Whenever we meet government officials, we are told that the order will be issued soon. We have been waiting for a month now but we sense some politics is being played over the matter and the issuance of a formal order is being delayed. On top of that, many private schools are taking hefty admission fee without any proper receipts,” said Mohsin Goni, coordinator of the Parents Association of Privately Administered Schools Kashmir (PAPAS).

However, private schools associations continue to oppose the move.

“The entire school education sector has been hit hard for last so many years and especially since August 2019 lockdown and subsequent COVID restrictions. Such is the situation of schools that it has become a matter of survival for all of us. At this point of time, how can we support fee relaxation,” said Private Schools’ Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) president GN Var.

The Kashmir Monitor tried to contact Samoon for over a week but he did not respond to repeated phone calls and text messages over a final decision on fee waiver for private schools.

His tweet also doesn’t mean anything as far as the official dictum is concerned.

Officials of the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) and School Education Department said they had not yet come across any order on fee waiver and just a tweet meant nothing unless there was an official communique.

“I have not come across any such order yet. We will let you know,” said Additional Secretary Education Naseer Wani when asked if the government had issued any order on fee concession.