KARACHI: The provincial education department has sprung into action after receiving complaints of an extraordinary hike in tuition fees at a private school – the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS). The exorbitant hike has not only made parents apprehensive, it is also in violation of the Supreme Court’s orders regarding the maximum raise in fees allowed to educational institutions.
Recently, the directorate of private institutions, a wing of the department of education, has sent a final show-cause notice to the school administration, demanding an explanation. The school has been warned that failure to reply to the notice within seven days will lead to cancellation of the school’s registration along with intimation of the same to the British Council.
The CAS School is one of the city’s most prestigious educational institutions, located in Defence Housing Authority Phase VIII. The three-month fee for a class three student was already in excess of Rs85,000, but the latest fee vouchers have raised a new storm, with parents being asked to pay around Rs144,000 this time around – a hike of around 60%.
Parents of students enrolled at the school told The Express Tribune that the latest fee vouchers are for the three-month period from July to September.
Other schools in the area such as the Frobel Education Center, Beaconhouse School System and Haque Academy have abided by the SC’s orders and have cut down the additional fees beyond the permissible Rs5,000 bar. In addition, these schools have also refunded half of the summer fees they collected last year, in line with the SC’s orders.
Meanwhile, CAS is perhaps the only school in the area that has completely disregarded the SC’s orders as well as several notices issued by the provincial school education department.
On January 10 earlier this year, the provincial school education department sent the first notice to the school, directing it to comply with the SC’s orders.
Three reminders dated February 18, March 7 and April 10 were also sent. However, the school neither responded to any of the notices nor submitted any compliance report.
The latest show-cause notice states that the school administrator and principal were summoned to the office of Directorate General Private Institutions to explain their position on the implementation of the SC’s orders on May 13.
Failing to comply with the instructions would lead to action in accordance with Clause 8 of the School Registration Act, the directorate had warned. However, the school officials did not show up at the directorate’s office on the scheduled time.
The Director General of Private Schools Mansoob Siddiqui believes that there is no need for any further notice to the school and action will be taken against it.
The directorate has now issued a formal circular calling for the CAS School to respond within seven days, failing which the school’s registration would be cancelled and the British Council will also be intimated about the action.
Around 100 parents met outside the house of the local MNA in Clifton on Sunday. The parents expressed their views regarding the unscrupulous fee hike during the gathering. Talking to The Express Tribune, the parents said that they have unanimously decided not to pay the fee until the Sindh government took notice of the issue.
“The school, which is not ready to comply with the rules of the state, cannot be expected to teach discipline to children and give them a good education,” said one parent, who asked not to be named.
Meanwhile, the head of CAS, Sami Mustafa, was contacted on his mobile phone for his version, but the call was attended by a staffer, Aberdeen Zaidi, who said that he was unavailable.
For his part, the DG Siddiqui told The Express Tribune that the directorate had received several complaints regarding the fee hike after which action against the school was being taken. “The school will have to follow the law under all conditions,” said Siddiqui.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2019.