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Can private school fees be refundable?

As part of the measures taken due to the Coronavirus outbreak, education in schools in all provinces of Turkey has been decommissioned, an online system at home EBA children who were educated through it continued their education in some way. But parents who pay private educational institutions to study their children in a school environment have faced many uncertainties in the legal dimension of the job. 
During the epidemic period, all payments were delayed within the scope of decisions and measures, and even enforcement proceedings stopped. Although private schools continued their education online, eventually students received an education and moved on to the summer semester. But parents have begun to question the circumstances surrounding the payments they make because they think their children are not educated as they were at school. For this reason, parents who pay for the second semester will request a refund of the fee they paid because their children's education does not continue in school (given that online education is not one-on-one and effective with school education). 


First of all, the contract signed between parents and private schools is the solution to the decency problem. Because when registering, parents sign a contract together with the payment installment plan, and this agreement has a legal nature. These contracts are generally a consumer contract, and parents are consumers at this point. No. 6502 Law On Consumer Protection subject to consumer contracts, if there is no provision in this law, they are subject to the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098. According to the code of obligations, contracts are established by the parties ' mutual and in accordance with each other. The parties prepare their contracts in accordance with the principle of contractual freedom and fulfill their obligations under the principle of adherence to the contract. In other words, parents can express their opinion on issues other than the minimum requirements of a private educational institution within the freedom to enter into a contract and add articles to the contract.


Normally private school fees; Ministry of Education Special Education Institutions regulation 54. it is determined according to the principles contained in the article. Accordingly, the private educational institution in the contract between parent prepared in accordance with the principles will be given, so as a package of tuition fees tuition fees as well as accommodation, dining, and service fees specified to be taken together these fees are charged in accordance with the agreement of the parents subsequently, the same pursuant to the contract, parents, private educational institutions from Covid-19 requirement that cannot be fulfilled, the food, the service may request a refund of services, such as dormitories. Because it is against the right to demand expenses such as food, cleaning, service due to the lack of students in schools.  In accordance with the principle of commitment to the contract and decency that the parties must comply with, private schools must decamp some payments and refund the fees they collect, as long as education is interrupted. Parents, on the other hand, must negotiate the terms of return in accordance with the principles of agreement/ reconciliation by applying to private school institutions that do not make these returns with a written petition. If these fees have not yet been paid by the parent, the parent may not request any fees from the private educational institution, and the private educational institution may not request these fees from the parents. 


Not only the principle of commitment to the contract, but also in the law on private educational institutions 5580, there are certain conditions for refunding fees. These:

- Separation of the student from the institution due to health by receiving a health report,
- Closure of the institution,
- Failure to open the period,
- Determination by maarif inspectors that the education and training environment of the institution has changed negatively,
- If it is documented by official institutions that the parent/guardian is unable to teach the student, the fee that hits the days and hours after the departure date that the school has paid will be returned to the student's parent/guardian.
Especially given that the outbreak is considered force majeure by the case law of the Supreme Court, private schools can also stop and suspend payments based on the provisions of the article on force majeure in their contracts during the outbreak period. Because technically, the school cannot bring its obligation to provide education in exchange for the parent who is under the obligation to pay for one-to-one education due to the epidemic. 


Due to the uncertainty of the Covid situation after the summer break, many parents have a question mark about the new period and the payment obligation brought about by the new period. Although the training period looks to start as of September, uncertainty remains at this time when the danger of the epidemic is still not over. Although parents want to guarantee themselves in terms of payment in this process, private school institutions must also specify this guarantee request in the contract in order to protect their weakened economy due to Covid. Since contracts are renewed in accordance with the principles of the Ministry of emergency situations during each new registration period, the payment plan must be created in accordance with it, taking into account the epidemic, which the Supreme Court also considers force majeure. Because the obligation to pay for an unrealized or unpredictable situation should not be avoided. Parents can indicate in the contract the possibility of postponing their payment plans due to Covid when they register their children, because the contract is a legal tool that both sides mutually negotiate and agree to. Parents and private school institutions can mutually discuss payment plans within the framework of contract Freedom based on the Turkish Code of Obligations, renew their terms, and decide on a payment process based on force majeure to their contracts. If parents have such a request, there is no obstacle for them not to forward it to private school institutions.  


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