Regulating private schools: K-P fails to craft policy

Published: April 11, 2018
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday issued notices to the provincial government, asking it to explain why its orders on regularising of private schools have not been implemented.

The court has also directed the additional registrar to issue contempt of court notices to those government departments who are not complying with the courts’ orders and for failing to submit a report to the court on creating a policy for regularisation of schools.

The directives were issued by the two-judge bench of PHC comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Musarrat Hilal. The bench was hearing a contempt of court petition submitted by Advocate Abbas Sangin and Amjid Ali Marwat.

The PHC had on November 8, 2017, issued a verdict, directing the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government to make the private school regulatory authority functional, devise a proper policy so that the schools do not exploit parents by burdening them with different types of fees.

The court had also barred new private schools from opening their doors until the private education authority becomes fully functional.

It had further directed that the concerned department submits within three months a report relating to the implementation of its orders.

Sangin and Marwat had filed a petition, urging the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against K-P Elementary and Secondary Education (K-P ESED) department and the Private Schools Regulatory Authority (PSRA) for failing to provide a policy on regulating private schools as directed by the court.

The lawyers told the court that in the time the PSRA was supposed to have finalized its policy, private schools had hiked their fees by 10 per cent. This, they argued, was against the court’s orders since the court had restricted fee hikes to just three per cent.

“It has now become the talk of the town that private schools are minting money from parents in a manner which is dangerous for the society,” the lawyers told the court.

“It is common that during recess, students are exposed to unhygienic and dangerous food provided outside the premises of the Institutions,” the lawyer continued.

Apart from regulating the foodstuff available outside the school, they contended that PSRA must also regulate canteens present inside educational institutions and institute weekly inspection of the food items being provided thereby competent food inspectors.

The lawyers further contended that every morning, young students can be seen hanging from old busses, vans, and pickups, thereby putting their lives in danger to get to schools. However, the traffic police seem to have turned a blind eye towards this.

The court, after hearing the initial arguments, issued notices to the chief secretary, education secretary, K-P PSRA chairman, and Traffic Police DIG to submit replies by the next hearing of the case.

The additional registrar of the PHC was also directed to file contempt of court case against all those schools that are not complying court’s order.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2018.

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