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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for the first time in the period of five years has increased the exam  fee by up to 1150/- for all the SSC and +2 (higher secondary) students.

Earlier the fee was 750/- for the general category and 350/- for the SC/ST. From now on the general category students appearing for 10th exam will be charged a sum of 1500/- for five subjects, whereas, the SC/ST will be charged 1200/- for the same.

Also, to appear for an additional subject both general and SC/ST will have to pay 300/-. Hundred percent visually impaired students don’t have to pay anything.

Migration fee has been increased to 350/- from 150. The CBSE students abroad will pay 10,000/- against the earlier 5000/-  and the fee for additional subject will now be 2000/- for them.

In the past, the Delhi government used to pay 300/- for the SC/ST and the remaining 50/- was paid by the students. Under the revised norms, Controller of Examination Sanyam Bhardwaj said, CBSE will now take 1200/- entirely from the SC/ST category students. If the Delhi government wants to reimburse or pay for them, then would be an internal arrangement between the schools and the Delhi government. 

The hike comes after the Centre’s decision to move competitive examinations such as the all-India entrance tests for medical and engineering courses away from the CBSEto the newly created National Testing Agency left the school board in a financial hole.

“We have not increased the fees in the last five years, but all our costs have gone up many fold in that time,” Sanyam Bhardwaj. “Earlier, we used to conduct competitive examinations such as NEET and JEE-Main, as well as the NET exam, and save money from that which could then be siphoned to subsidise the school examinations. But that is now impossible. We faced losses of ₹100 crore from last year’s school exams alone.”

The CBSE did not get funds from the government and was thus forced to jack up the fees it collected from students, he said.

“The cost of paper has shot up, and printing of the examination papers. We have not been able to increase payment rates for the teachers who are working overtime for examination activities. They have increased the time devoted, but we have not paid them marketplace rates,” added Mr. Bhardwaj. “Last year, we preponed the declaration of results by a month, but that was only made possible by hiring more people.”

He pointed out that additional security measures also increased costs. “We are now insisting that school principals must personally go and pick up the examination papers in a covered vehicle for safety’s sake, so we have to pay for them to do that. It all adds up to major losses and we can’t afford to subsidise any more,” he said.

The CBSE feels that the since the exam costs are increasing, this hike was very important. Also CBSE has started to provide online certificate as a part of National Depository Scheme.

The fee hike has got the parents up in arms. All India Parents Association (AIPA) has strongly opposed the decision, calling it unconstitutional and demanding its immediate withdrawal. Advocate and president of All India Parents Association, Ashok Aggarwal said that the decision by the CBSE will be challenged in the court.

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