Srinagar: The private coaching institutes in Kashmir Valley are denying fee refund to the students wishing to exit the institutes before the commencement of the online classes of these tuition centres.
The students are demanding a refund of their fees after the private coaching centres switched to online teaching following the government guidelines.
According to new government guidelines issued on January 9 this year, all schools, colleges, polytechnics, coaching centres and ITIs were directed to adopt online mode of offering education till further orders.
The guidelines were issued by the State Executive Committee of the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in view of the spike in COVID19 cases reported on a daily basis in J&K.
“I am preparing for the NEET examination but the said coaching institute shifted to online mode following which I demanded refund of my fees but the coaching institute is denying it,” said Atif, a student from Budgam.
Atif is not the lone student who was denied the refund but there are hundreds of students who are facing the same fate.
The students are demanding a refund saying that paying the same amount for online classes as that of offline classes was not justified. “The study material is available online at a minimum cost which varies from Rs 5,000 to less than 10,000. But the private coaching institutes charge fees worth Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh for online classes,” Atif said.
At the time of admissions the coaching centres claim that the students can claim for refund within 10 to 14 days. “The refund can be claimed only during the first 15 days from the date of admission,” reads the content of the registration form provided to the students by one of the leading coaching centres in Srinagar. Contrary to it, the institutes have now left the students high and dry by refusing the refund to the students who do not want to continue with the online classes.
The students are dodged by the coaching institutes asking them to get the approval from Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar to get the refund. “Please get the permission from the DC office for the refund. We switched to online mode of teaching as per the government directions and still parents are asking for refund. If you want us to refund the fee, please let us know,” a coaching center has handed over the letter to the parent for its submission in the DC office Srinagar.
The move has annoyed the parents who said the coaching centres did not ask for any approval from administration at the time of admission but to mint the institute has asked the parents to get permission from the DC office Srinagar.
“The coaching centres are more concerned about money than imparting education to kids. They are playing tactics to kill time and later deny refund to the students,” said a parent.
President CCAK, Lateef Masoodi when contacted said the coaching centres, as per the Court orders, have to refund the fee to students within a period of seven days after the student joins the class. “But if some coaching institute has kept a 15 days time period to give a refund it is the discretion of the said institute to take a decision on it. But there is a provision of refund which no one can deny,” he said.
He said involving district administration to provide a refund to the students was illogical. “The matter has to be sorted out by the coaching center and student as per the proper procedure,” he said.