Muscat: Indian School Darsait (ISD) is reportedly facing a fund crunch since parents often fail to pay the fee of their wards on time, a school management member has claimed.
"As the parents fail to pay their children's fee on time, the school is facing a severe fund crunch. The ISD as a community doesn't have enough reserve funds to go easy when it comes to fee collection. It is becoming difficult to meet school-related expenses," the school management member claimed, adding that the school is now facing a shortage of nearly OMR50,000 in fee collection.
"There are around 3,000 students studying in the school. Even if we take an average of OMR100 from each student for one term, we should receive OMR300,000. Now, according to the accounts department, during the 2013-14 academic year's final term, we are facing a shortage of OMR50,000.
"Were the amount in the range of OMR2,000 to 3,000 per year, we could have thought of writing off the amount. But with such a huge accumulated amount, we don't know what to do," the source added.
"As a community school, we are quite compassionate towards the parents struggling to pay the fee. We set deadlines only after having discussions with them at Open Forums. But, even then, many fail to pay the fee on time. We have a feeling that some parents are deliberately defaulting on fee payment," the source added.
Every year, the school holds periodic meetings with parents and identifies those who are not able to afford the fee and chalks out plans to support them.
"According to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) rules, a transfer certificate is not required for Indian students other than those studying in higher classes if they want to join a new school. Many parents misuse this provision. They deliberately avoid paying the fee and finally, after the examination, they send their kids back to India. By doing so, these parents put the school in a dilemma," the source added.
Meanwhile, a top official of the Indian schools' Board of Directors said fee default is a grave issue being faced by all the Indian community schools in Oman.
"All the Indian community schools are facing the same problem and it is quite difficult to handle this kind of a situation. It is a very sensitive issue. Most of the Indian schools are already running on shoe string budget and when such fee defaults happen, they land in more trouble," Tonny George Alexander, chairman of Indian schools' Board of Directors, said.
Meanwhile, some parents also reiterated the school management committee member's contention.
"There are parents who are struggling to pay the fee on time, but we also know many who deliberately default on the fee payment. It is not good for the school. This school is a community school. It charges only an affordable amount for books and the fee increase is also introduced only after having consultations with the parents. So, we should be more honest in our dealings with the school," the parents noted.