ISLAMABAD: The representatives of private schools have decided to file intra-court appeal and challenge Islamabad High Court (IHC) decision that barred them from collecting summer vacation fee.
They said the court was misled by the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) by saying that provincial courts have also given such decisions barring schools not to collect summer vacations fee. However, they said, no such decision was given by the courts and no order has stopped schools collecting fee during vacations.
The owners of private schools at a press conference said the Peshawar, Sindh and Lahore high courts have given decisions either to collect fee monthly and not collectively or charge half fee. One of the courts has asked not to charge summer camps fee.
The owners of private schools held press conference in the back drop of the IHC order last week that barred private schools in the federal capital from charging tuition fee for the summer vacations.
The IHC order came in response to a petition filed by a citizen Jamshed Khan against a private school chain in the capital. The parent moved the court as the powers of PEIRA are suspended by the IHC and under litigation.
Private Schools Association of Islamabad (PSAI) President Zofran Ellahi, said most of the schools have been running in rented buildings, will not be able to pay the rent and give salaries to the teachers and non-teaching staff whose livelihood depends on salaries.
They said the private schools sharing the burden of government by imparting quality education when the government has not been able to built new schools. In 1994 there were 393 schools in Islamabad and after 25 years their number has risen to 422 whereas the population has increased from 500,000 to 2,200,000.
He said already over 22 million children are out of schools and such measures of the state will further close more schools increasing the number of out of school children.
They said 2,000 registered private schools of Islamabad risk facing closure on account of regulatory and judicial actions, forcing more than 350,000 children out of school and losing more than 38,000 teaching & academic professional jobs in Islamabad.
He said out of 2,000 registered schools about 73 schools offer O and A Levels education of international standards and their students secure positions in Physics, Chemistry, and Economics and other subjects. Other 1927 schools offer federal board examination system and clinch positions.
But with such decisions the schools will not be able to main the quality of education and other services they have been giving.
Another representative, Umer Manzoor, said the private schools cater to all segments and class and majority schools give even scholarships to 10 per cent of their children. The schools give free education to orphans, their teaching staffers and others.
However, the PEIRA Chairman, Hasnat Qureshi, said they did not give any wrong statement. “We just showed the court K-P and Punjab government notifications and told the court that since President rules are struck down, so our hands are tied,” he said. Thus, the court gave the relief to the parents.
The representatives of parents say the schools don’t want any regulatory mechanisms and whenever the government introduce some rules the schools take them into court.
They said the parents in Pakistan have been spending Rs829 billion on private schools across the country but in return they get no concession and non-standard education.
Primary education should be cheap than the higher education but here carts are put before the horse. About 8 per cent of schools covering 39,127 students from nursery to A levels charge Rs11.8 billion in Islamabad annually while Islamic University covering 35,000 students from graduate to PhD charge Rs4.5 billion, said one of the parents.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2018.