SC hints at nationalising private schools

Bench irked over use of contemptous language by private school administration in letter on SC decision to reduce fee

News Desk February 11, 2019
Students use computers in the technology lab at a private school in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: Reuters

The Supreme Court on Monday hinted at directing the government to take control of private educational institutes, Express News reported.

A three-member bench comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Faisal Arbab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard a case regarding the use of contemptuous language in a letter addresses to the top judge by the administrations of two private schools in Islamabad.

SC directs private schools to reduce fee by 20%

In the letter pertained to the top court’s decision ordering a 20 per cent decrease in the fee charged by the private schools. The December 13, 2018 order was applicable to private schools charging over Rs5,000 per month. It also restricted them to a maximum 8 per cent increase per year with the permission of a regulator.  The apex court also directed administrations to return half the fee charged for summer vacations or adjust the amount.

Irked over the letter’s content, Justice Ahsan observed that the language used was contemptuous. The private school’s counsel clarified that the administration did not intent to disrespect the court. “In fact, the fee had been decreased while implementing on the order.”

Regulating private education: Federal ombudsman-led panel to review fees, education policy

Criticising private schools for lack of ‘remorse’, Justice Ahmed remarked that education had been made a business commodity. He also chided the administration for intrusive questions asked during interviews. “Parents are asked where they will be travelling for holidays – how is that the concern of the school administration? Private schools have poisoned homes.”

“Why should we not direct the government to take control of private school?” he added.

Seeking replies from the administration of the private schools, the apex court adjourned hearing for two weeks.

Read the written order issued by the Supreme Court Registrar here.


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Asad | 2 years ago | Reply Unfortunately the court despite its good intentions is only addressing half problem. As long as the other half of public education sector is not upgraded, arm twisting of private schools should be caregully managed. Yes, fee and other administrative matters should be checked under a robust governance mechanism but situation should not be taken to a stage where private schools decide to shut down. In that case, court will end up creating a mess for parents and students. Kindly exercise caution.
Mohsin Mahmood | 2 years ago | Reply I still remember when a few years back one of the owners of the Roots was thinking of launching the first educational IPO of his school system. Health, education, utilities are not and should not be allowed to run as businesses. Its due time that these private schools are clamped down by sensible regulation.
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