NCHR takes notice of high private schools fees

Chairman directs member ICT to call a meeting of all stakeholders


Sehrish Wasif September 10, 2018
. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) on Monday took notice of the high fees being charged by many private schools in the country.

The NCHR demanded of the government to effectively implement Article 25A of the Constitution of Pakistan which states, “Right to education — The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law”.

“A pressing issue has been brought to the attention of the NCHR regarding the high fees being charged by private schools. The NCHR is receiving many complaints about the high fees from the parents of the students at private schools,” states a handout issued by the commission.

An NCHR official told The Express Tribune that complaints of hike in private schools fee were being received almost every day. “Parents say that the fee is increased almost every year and it has become impossible for them to pay the same,” he added.

The issue, the official added, had been raised at various forums, but nothing had been done to provide relief to the parents. “Private schools have become more of business institutions than educational ones,” he lamented.

Private school fees: Parents, students urge CJP to take note of exploitation

The official said that the parents had told the NCHR chairman that they were suffering from mental stress due to the rise in the fees year on year.

A meeting was, meanwhile, held at the NCHR Head Office in Islamabad during which NHCR Chairman Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chowhan criticised the “very high fee” being charged by many private schools in the country. He asked the member Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to arrange a consultation programme in this regard.
Chowhan referred to Article 25A of the Constitution and said, “It is the responsibility of the state to take necessary action in line with the Constitution and adjust the fee level.”

Parents had also complained that many private schools had made it compulsory for students to buy uniform only from the school which was sold at far higher than the market price. “This shows that our schools have become business ventures,” he said while condemning these “preposterous” actions.

“Free education is a fundamental right of all citizens, but if it is not affordable to the common man, how this right will be exercised.” Chowhan said, stressing on the right to education at a reasonable fee.

He directed the member ICT to call all stakeholders, including the Private Education Institutes Regulatory Authority (PEIRA), to discuss the concerns. He directed the member ICT to arrange a comprehensive consultation for a necessary action.

“Education and business should be separated and the schools violating the rules will face serious action,” he warned.

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