KARACHI: In a first, the Sindh education and literacy department has created an online portal, digitising the registration and fee structures of all private schools in the province. Parents will be able to obtain all information pertaining to private schools including the fees the schools are licensed to charge. The schools, on their part, will be facilitated as their registration process with the education department's Directorate of Inspection and Registration of Private Institutions of Sindh has been made easier. Besides, the education department will now have a proper system in place to record and list data pertaining to private schools operating in the province.
The portal, accessible at www.dirprivateschools.gos.pk, will be made functional today (Saturday) and will be officially inaugurated on July 15, 2019 by the Sindh Education Minister Sardar Shah at the Sindh Boys Auditorium.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Inspection Directorate Registrar Rafia Javed, said that the online portal would ensure transparency in the system. It would enable parents to know whether the school they are sending their children to is registered with the education department or not. The registration certificates, renewal of registration certificates and the year the school was founded would all be accessible online. She added that the profiles of all private schools would also be made available on the online portal in the next six months.
Parents would know beforehand of their respective school's fee structure including which services the school is allowed to charge the parents. The monthly, yearly breakdown of the fee structure would be listed, eliminating the possibility of schools alarming parents with impromptu, additional charges under sundry heads. Javed confirmed that the fee structure given on the portal would include all charges including sports or library fees that the schools may be authorised to charge.
Put simply, parents would know at the beginning of each year the costs they would have to bear for their child's education and would be able to refer to the website at all times to ensure they are paying only what they signed up for.
Easing registration process
Private schools will be able to download registration and renewal of registration forms on the online portal. The website includes all details pertaining to regional offices and schools would not have to visit the offices of the registration department repeatedly. They could just update information on the forms available on the website with a simple 'click'.
According to Javed, the Inspection Directorate team would carry out physical inspections to verify the information provided by the schools in the online forms.
"Schools will be registered only if everything is according to our requirements, and if the school does not meet our required standards, it would be rejected," she said, adding that the rejection of registration would also be listed online - accessible to anyone who wishes to check. No additional costs have been added to the registration fees charged from the schools, she confirmed.
The Private Schools Association is also on board with this new initiative of the education department. Members of the association said that they expect the portal to make the registration process for schools easier. They also expressed their contentment at being consulted by the education department before the portal was setup. This is the first time we have been kept in loop, they said.
Crediting the education minister and School Education Secretary Qazi Shahid, Javed said that Sindh is the first province where the details pertaining to private schools' registration, fee structure, their profile, is being digitised and being made accessible online.
She said that this step would allow the Inspection Directorate - which does not have an official census of the private schools operating in the province - to maintain a formalised record with data pertaining to private schools.
Along with profiling the schools, she added, the website would also list the schools which are registered with Inspection Directorate but haven't been registered online.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2019.