ISLAMABAD: Private educational institutions have not only lessened the burden from the government’s shoulders but it has also raised the educational standard that was declining with the substandard performance of public sector schools.
This was the consensus opinion expressed by the teachers and parents at a forum discussion on the subject “ Our Educational Needs” under Islamabad Educational forum. A number of parents, teachers, experts and people from different walks of life attended the forum.
Further, the forced reduction in monthly fee will directly affect the salaries these teachers receive who voluntarily chose teaching as a profession. A solid wage structure was a prerequisite for a better performance.
Parents could not even imagine such standards in the public sector which the private sector has set in the field of education.
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The teachers said the government was not complying to its duties to provide the basic necessity such as education to every individual of the state which provided space for mushrooming of private schools however it would be unjust from the government side to shut down the private schools completely without having adequate facilities at government level.
One of the parents, Mehmood Malik, argued that if the fees of such schools were around Rs.1000-1200 monthly was reduced , it would still not make any viable impact on the parents’ pocket. The reduced fee would be received in some other ways by the schools, he added.
Law expert, Riyasat Ali, said that the countries like Japan and South Korea gave a lot of attention to education which was reflected in the number of universities in its cities alone.
He further urged the government to establish one education system across the country.
He opined that the expensive education could only be afforded by the elite but not the middle class. A better nation could only be developed with the provision of competitive and good education, he added.
Bushra Bukhari said that 50% of schoolchildren were enrolled in private institutions while a part from formal education, these schools were also focusing on religious and moral education of their students.
Another participant , Dr. Akbar Yazdani said that it was the state’s responsibility to bear education of its citizen as per the article A-25 of the Constitution.
Further, Zafran Ilahi said that many single branch schools could be shut down after the current pressure and circumstances that were being created for private schools.
Moreover, Muhammad Abrooz said the primary reason that a person put in hard work for was money, the teachers prefer to teach in private sector due to the high scale earning, he added and said that the people would stop choosing teaching as a profession after how the private schools were being treated by the government.
Further, different participants expressed their opinions and said that teaching in a private school now was considered an honour while the standard of education of government schools was below.par They pointed out that the teacher to student ratio in government schools was not followed whereas most of the teachers did not even remember the names of the students present in the class. They added that this situation was opposite in private schools where there were adequate facilities for each student.
The educational experts expressed that as many as 300,000 private schools across the country were sharing the burden of students with the government however the students in these schools would come out if they were closed down.
They argued that a cheap fee would directly affect the facilities in these schools while they stressed that the government should also focus on improving the standard in government schools. They asserted that the private schools were giving better facilities to students against high fees and their syllabus was also upgraded each year while the government schools continued same outdated syllabus for years.
Further, they said that the private schools charged vacation fee to pay for the building rent, teachers’ salaries and other expenses and asked that how would it be done if the fee was not charged.
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The General Secretary Labor Union, Amanullah Khan, appreciated the forum and said the standard of education in government schools should be raised so that the child of a low-wage person could also receive better education. These kinds of forum were healthy as they create awareness regarding others’ difficulties.
Tariq Saeed expressed that everybody was only witnessing the alleged exploitation by the private institutions whereas he identified that the rent of the school building was increased every year by the owner. There owners left with no option other than raising school fee to cover this expense, he added.
Another Participant Sadia Malik said that there was visible difference in the students of government and private schools in terms of knowledge, grooming etc. She told that these institutions should not be disturbed from performing their duties.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2019.