New Delhi: In a notification issued last week, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has hiked the fees of Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations for Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe students to Rs 1,200 from Rs 350, while general students have to pay Rs 1,500, as opposed to Rs 750.
The SC/ST students in Delhi were earlier only paying Rs 50 due to a special arrangement with the Delhi government, which paid the balance. However, the increased fees means that the SC/ST students have to pay 24 times the amount they were paying earlier. The Board’s decision to increase the fees, which will be applicable from the 2019-20 academic session, has left the students in lurch as the registration process had already begun in several schools and had paid as per the old fee structure. The schools have now been directed to collect the difference in the amount. The students appearing for the Class 10 board exams are registered for it when they are in Class 9, and those appearing for Class 12 are registered when in Class 11.
As per the revised norms, to appear for an additional subject in the Class 12 board examination, the SC and the ST students, who were earlier not supposed to pay any extra fee, will now have to pay Rs 300. General category students will also have to pay Rs 300 for an additional subject, instead of Rs 150 earlier.
This decision has elicited criticism from different quarters. The All India Parents Association has issued a statement opposing the fee hike and demanding immediate withdrawal of the hike. “The move is unconstitutional and against the right to education. Such move on part of CBSE would adversely affect education of children of masses,” said AIPA National President Ashok Agarwal.
While private school students might not be much affected, the move could be a cause for concern among government school students. "They hardly have money to buy books," the Times of India quoted Robin Aggarwal, principal of Mohali's Learning Paths School, as saying.
On the special arrangement for the SC/ST students of Delhi, Controller of Examination Sanyam Bhardwaj said, "Earlier in Delhi, SC/ST students used to pay Rs 50 and the Delhi government paid the rest. Now, the CBSE will take Rs 1,200 entirely from the students. If the Delhi government reimburses them or pays for them, it's an internal arrangement between schools and the Delhi government."
Meanwhile, the Board has justified the hike by saying that the increase has been introduced after a gap of five years. A senior board official told PTI, “The fees has been increased for all categories of students in all affiliated schools of CBSE in India and abroad by a resolution if the governing body of the board," a senior board official said.
“This hike has brought CBSE fee at par with other central board, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which charges Rs 1,800 for male candidates, Rs 1,450 for females and Rs 1,200 for SC/ST candidates,” the official added.
"Hundred per cent visually-impaired students are exempted from paying CBSE examination fees. The student who fails to deposit the difference in CBSE examination fee before the last date will not be registered and will not be allowed to appear in the 2019-20 examination," the official added.
The migration fees, which was Rs 150 earlier, has also been increased to Rs 350.
The students enrolled in the CBSE schools abroad will have to pay Rs 10,000 for five subjects for both Class 10 and 12. Earlier, it was Rs 5,000. For them, the fees for an additional subject in Class 12 has been fixed at Rs 2,000 as against Rs 1,000 earlier.