School board collects fee for exams that weren’t held - ECAS Punjab

School board collects fee for exams that weren’t held

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Balwant Garg

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 26

A demand by the Government School Teachers Union in the state seeking refund of Rs 80 crore which the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has collected from about 6 lakh students of Classes X and XII as examination fee has triggered a debate.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the PSEB exams were cancelled in March. The exams were scheduled to be held between March 20 and March 31. The results of all students of Classes X and XII were declared on the basis of pre-board evaluation.

As there were no examinations this time, the PSEB should refund the fee which it had collected from students, the teachers' union demanded.

According to the union, 3,19,111 students of Class X and 2,86,378 students of Class XII paid Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,500 each, respectively, as theory and practical examination fee to the school board.

Most of the students in the PSEB-affiliated schools belong to economically weaker section, so the board should refund the fee as no exams were held, said Prem Chalwa, senior vice-president of the union.

Krishan Kumar, Chairman, PSEB, said the board would reimburse the examination fee paid by SC/ST students once the Department for the Welfare of SC/ST deposited the amount with the school board. The SC/ST Welfare Department is providing reimbursement of tuition and other compulsory fees to underprivileged students.

The union claimed that the PSEB had not spent much on the preparations for the examinations. So the board should refund at least a part of the fee, if not full, it said.

"If the benefit of lesser cost on the exercise is not passed on to the students, it will lead to undue earning for the school board, which should not be its aim," said Surinder Kumar Puari, president of the union.

Krishan Kumar said the change in cost was temporary and would not change the cost of running the overall affairs of the school board. "Like teachers, who are being paid by the government without any pay cut during the pandemic, the PSEB also has a large number of employees and their salary is partially collected from various funds the board charges from the students," he said.

Krishan Kumar said the PSEB did not provide services for profit as defined under the commercial laws. The fee was charged only to some extent for running the board, he said.


'Will reimburse SC/ST students'

Krishan Kumar, Chairman, PSEB, said the board would reimburse the examination fee paid by SC/ST students once the SC/ST Welfare Department deposited it with the PSEB. The department was providing reimbursement of tuition and other compulsory fee to financially weak students, he said.



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