Educational institutions shouldn’t lower their fees any further

The other day I heard the most absurd news — our country’s Supreme Court suggested (or demanded? They usually don’t recommend things, do they?) that the schools should lower their feeds as the classes are only held online these days. I honestly feel it’s an absurd suggestion. Two reasons: 

  1. Most schools are already charging 50 to 60% of their regular fees.
  2. Online education doesn’t mean low-quality or low-cost education; it’s just the medium that has changed, not the teachers or the quality of education. 

Sure, the current economic situation looks grim, and not everyone, especially the economically weaker section (EWS), can afford expensive education. But then, students from the EWS category already get free education, which means the “suggestion” was primarily for the lower-middle-class families whose members have lost jobs or lives or both. While it’s a terrible state to be in, I still believe lowering the fees won’t do zilch. 

Also, I don’t think it’s fair to the institutions to charge less than they already are. They have to break even to be able to do sustain themselves and provide education to the masses over the long haul. If the government is concerned about the kids’ future and missing out on education due to the economic crises, why can’t it fund the schools at the already reduced fee? Or perhaps, match 50% of the school’s fee? 

Both you and I know that is not going to happen, which means schools are on their own to survive while managing parents’ unreasonable expectations and keeping their teachers motivated to go the extra mile to deliver the curriculum online. It’s not an easy transition. Of course, this begs the question — what about the lower-middle class, who’re struggling to pay the fees? Well, they have the following options:

  1. Humbly discuss the possibility of a rebate or scholarship with the school authorities. 
  2. Home-school their kids and rely on online academies like to teach their kids the rest of the curriculum. (the lower-middle class are an educated bunch, so they sure can read and write and help their kids do the same.)

The options above are inconvenient, and not everyone would want even to think, let alone try. It’s a massive time commitment, and people would rather err on the government’s side to arm-twist the institutions to lower their fees than embrace their realities and act accordingly. 

My argument is simple — would you think it’s fair if your boss expects you to take a pay cut because you’re working from home these days? You won’t! And the reasons are many, including the fact that your deliverables are just as high a quality as they were before you went into WFH perpetually. Chances are, you’re able to focus more, which has had a significant impact on your overall output. Why on earth would you then accept a pay cut? It doesn’t make sense. And it’s not fair. Right?

Well, that’s precisely why institutions shouldn’t be discounting their fees any further. They’ve already slashed down their fees and are charging only for the tuition and overall service; that’s fair and reasonable. Expecting them to lower the fee might mean your kid is receiving a much lower quality of education. Why? The institutions won’t afford to pay the teachers if the parents don’t pay up or pay less. And if the teachers don’t get paid, they don’t have an option but to go elsewhere. If they do, they’ll be probably replaced with someone less experienced and skilled to teach your kid, which I’m sure isn’t what you want for your kids.

Let’s call this expectation for what it is, a baseless one. 

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