The Central Board of Secondary Education on Tuesday announced a one-time exemption of examination and registration fee for those students who lost both their parents to Covid-19 or the surviving parent.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the country adversely and keeping in view of its impact on students, CBSE as a special measure for academic session 2021-22, has decided that neither the examination fees nor the registration fees will be charged by the board from the students who have lost both parents, or surviving parent, or legal guardian/adoptive parents due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a circular signed by Controller of Examination Sanyam Bhardwaj.

Students who have lost one of their parents will not be eligible for the exemption.

The board also asked CBSE-affiliated schools to submit the details of such students after verifying the cases. Students are required to submit the fee before September 30 – which is the last date for schools to submit their list of Class 10 and 12 candidates to the board. A majority of schools in Delhi are affiliated to CBSE, including the 1,030 Delhi government schools.

In 2019, CBSE hiked the board examination fee for Class 10 and 12 students in the general category in Delhi government schools from ₹375 and ₹600, respectively, to ₹1,500 for five subjects. For Class 12 students, the fee can go up to ₹2,500, including the extra amount for practicals, additional and optional subjects.

For SC/ST candidates in Class 10, the examination fee was increased from ₹375 to ₹1,200 and for Class 12, from ₹600 to ₹1,200 in Delhi government and government-aided schools. Before 2019, students from the SC/ST category were charged ₹50 and the remainder used to be reimbursed by the government to the board. Now, they have to pay the full fee.

Following the 2019 hike, the Delhi government paid the fee for over 314,000 Class 10 and 12 students in government schools that year, but it did not pay the fee last year citing fund crunch. This year, the All India Parents Association has been campaigning and asking state authorities to bear the costs.

Officials from the Delhi government and in the education department did not comment on the matter.

Principals HT spoke to said the decision will definitely help those students who have lost their parents, but added that several others whose parents were facing financial crisis due to the pandemic will not benefit from it.

Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Sector-8 Rohini, said, “We have several students whose parents have lost livelihood during the pandemic and they are struggling to arrange for two square meals. It is difficult for them to arrange the board fee especially for those families that have more than one of their children in Class 10 or 12. We have planned to arrange the fee for at least 100 of our 500 board students. Affluent people across the city should meet government school principals and help such students.”

Several other government school principals in Dwarka, Najagfarh, Okhla, Mayur Vihar, Dallupura, Seelampur, and Sangam Vihar also expressed similar concerns.

Dallupura resident Sunita Chaudhary, a domestic worker whose daughter studies in a nearby government school in Class 10, said she lost work during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The numbers of houses where I worked were almost halved due to the pandemic. I have three children to feed, and need some money for their education as well. Though my husband is an auto driver, he doesn’t contribute much to the household income. Arranging for ₹1,800 is not easy for me,” she said.

Last year too, HT reported that doctors, book publishers, grocery store owners, and members of residents’ welfare associations helped schools pay the board exam fee of students in many government schools


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