After being criticized about the fee hike, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said a deficit of over Rs 200 crore in conducting examinations for Classes 10 and 12 has forced it to go ahead with the decision. The CBSE, the national level secondary and higher secondary education regulator, said its efforts to conduct early board results, the measures it undertook to make examination leak proof and error-free evaluation have imposed a financial burden on the Board. The clarification from the Board comes after political parties and parents demanded a repeal of the fee hike which was announced last week.
The Board on Sunday increased the fees of Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations - which are held annually in February and March months -- by up to Rs. 1,150, the first hike in the last five years.
The fees for general category students for both Classes 10 and 12 were doubled from Rs. 750 to Rs. 1,500 for five subjects.
The SC and ST students in Delhi, who were paying Rs 375 earlier, will now be supposed to pay Rs 1,200 for five subjects.
The Congress on Monday demanded that the CBSE take back the decision to hike fees of Classes 10 and 12 board examination, alleging that it was yet another attempt by the BJP government to target SC/ST communities.
A parents' body has also called the move as "unconstitutional".
The Board, while justifying its decision to increase the fee, also said the passing on the responsibility of conducting competitive examinations like the JEE and the NEET -- which is held for admission to undergraduate level engineering and medical admissions in the country -- to the newly-formed National Testing Agency (NTA) has also left it in a fund crunch.
Along with the examination fees, the Board has notified the increase in registration fees for class 9 and 11 and migration fees last week.
"The fee hikes are required for self-sustenance, and to maintain the quality in examination, evaluation and overcome a financial deficit of around Rs 200 crore," Press Trust of India reported as the Board's secretary Anurag Tripathi saying.
The CBSE spends around Rs 500 crore annually to conduct examinations for class 10 and 12, according to him.
"There has been a deficit of around Rs 200 crore every year in the past few years. However, we were able to neutralise that deficit by conducting competitive examinations, including the JEE and the NEET, but these have now been passed on to the HRD Ministry's National Testing Agency," Mr Tripathi said.
"Hence, we have no option, but to increase fees. We cannot compromise the quality of examination," he said.
The CBSE is an autonomous and self-financing body and the move will now bring it to a no profit no loss situation, the Board secretary said.
"The decision to hike fees was taken after due consideration of all factors by the Governing Body of the CBSE and the fees has been increased after a gap of five years," he added.
Fee for SC, ST students in Delhi
According to the new rules, SC and ST students in Delhi, who were paying Rs 375 earlier, will now pay Rs 1,200 for five subjects.
In a special arrangement in the national capital, these students were paying only Rs 50, while the Delhi government was paying the rest of the amount as subsidy.
However, the CBSE said in a statement that it has proposed to the Delhi government to continue the practice after the fee hike.
"On the direction of HRD Minister, CBSE has decided to restore practice of depositing only Rs. 50 on CBSE registration portal from SC/ST students of Delhi government schools. For the remaining amount, CBSE will take up reimbursement of increased fees directly with Delhi state government after finalising list of candidates. This has been informed to Delhi government," the statement said.
A response from Delhi government in this regard is awaited.
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