In what might come as a jolt to students and parents, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has increased the fees of Class X and Class XII board examinations.
Earlier, media reports suggested that the hike was only applicable to CBSE-affiliated schools in Delhi.
However, board officials have now clarified that CBSE has hiked exam fee pan India and for schools abroad, too.
General category to pay Rs. 1,500; Rs. 1,200 for SC/ST
As per the revised fee structure, general category students for both Classes X and XII, who earlier paid Rs. 750 for five subjects, will now have to pay double the amount, Rs. 1,500.
Meanwhile, SC and ST category students will now have to pay Rs. 1,200. Previously, SC/ST students were paying Rs. 350.
However, in Delhi, the SC/ST students were only paying Rs. 50.
For additional subjects, all students to pay Rs. 300 now
Additionally, for students enrolled in CBSE schools abroad, the exam fee for five subjects was hiked from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 for Class X and XII.
For an additional subject, students will have to pay Rs. 300.
Earlier, general category students were paying Rs. 150 for an additional subject, while SC/ST students weren't charged a fee.
There's no exam fee for visually-impaired students.
Delhi SC/ST students paid Rs. 50 exam fee last year
The CBSE exam fee hike is especially appalling for SC/ST students in Delhi, who were only paying a subsidized Rs. 50 for five subjects, while the Delhi government paid the rest.
However, as per an earlier announcement made in June by Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia, the AAP government will pay the full CBSE exam fee for all government school students.
Students who fail to deposit fee to be debarred
CBSE had notified schools about the fee revision last week.
Schools that had already charged the fee as per the old structure are now required to collect the difference from students.
"The student who fails to deposit the difference in CBSE examination fee before the last date will not be registered and not be allowed to appear in 2019-20 examinations," a Board official stated.
Here's the reason behind this exorbitant fee hike
Notably, CBSE's controller of examination, Sanyam Bhardwaj, told The Telegraph that till last year, the Board was conducting several competitive examinations, such as the Joint Entrance Examination-Main, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for undergraduate medical courses, and the National Eligibility Test for an assistant professorship.
Previously, the Board made a few hundred crores from these exams, which was used to cross-subsidize the exam fee.
CBSE doesn't get government funds, so we increased fee: Bhardwaj
Bhardwaj told The Telegraph, "All these examinations have been shifted to the newly created National Testing Agency from this year. As a result, there is no surplus. The CBSE does not get government funds, so we had to increase the fee."
This is the first fee hike in past five years
CBSE noted that there has been no fee hike in the past five years, and the Board "is a self-financed body" which "works on no profit no loss basis."
CBSE stated that the expenses for conducting the tests have increased too.
The Board maintained that despite the hike, its fee is lower than other boards, such as the National School of Open Learning (NIOS).