FDE imposes up to Rs2,500 transport fee

School and college committees ask students to pay transport cost or stop using buses

Zaigam Naqvi October 31, 2022


Federal Directorate of Education-run educational institutions in Islamabad have imposed up to Rs2,500 on poor students using buses to and from schools and colleges. School and college management committees have handed over transport fee slips to the students, asking them to pay a minimum of Rs1,500 and a maximum of Rs2,500 from November 1 or stop using buses forthwith.

The new transport fee has put an additional burden on poor parents, who said that they would not have sent their children to government schools had they afforded to pay the fee and other expenses of private educational institutions.

In February 2021, the federal cabinet of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government authorised the FDE to run buses through the school and college management committees on a cost-sharing basis.

During the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s tenure, the FDE had procured 200 buses for schools and colleges, however, funds were not allocated to run the buses to cover the costs of fuel, drivers and helpers.

As funds were not provided to the FDE and educational institutions, most buses remained parked before the FDE through the Ministry of Federal Education forwarded a summary to the federal cabinet, seeking approval to run the buses on a cost-sharing basis.

In 2017, the Finance Division proposed to run the buses on a cost-sharing and the prime minister at that time approved the proposal.

The poor parents said that they were already hit by super inflation and the new transport fee will make further holes in their pockets and they will be forced to stop sending their children to schools and colleges. They asked the federal education minister and the prime minister to look into the serious matter and provide relief to the parents under Article 25-A of the Constitution. Each educational institution has set its own fee after college and school management committees approved the new levy.

Schools and colleges in the slips delivered through drivers have warned students to pay the bus fee from November 1, otherwise, they will be taken off the buses.

Some educational institutions have asked the students to pay Rs1,500 and others Rs2,500 according to the distance. Various educational institutions had stopped plying buses on various routes due to a lack of funds in the last couple of months. Educationists said under Article 25-A of the Constitution and in the light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the government cannot charge any kind of fee from children and it was the constitutional responsibility of the government to provide free education to children. Director to FDE Director-General Irfan Ullah said that the Finance Division has approved the transport fee based on cost-sharing. He said that the government had asked the FDE to form school and college management committees, empowering them to operate the buses on the basis of cost-sharing, partly charging the cost from the students using buses.

He said that they had sent a summary, seeking the induction of drivers and conductors for the 200 buses of educational institutions but it was rejected by the government, instructing the FDE to run the buses on a cost-sharing basis.

He said “under Article 25-A of the constitution, we have to provide free education to the children and not the transport”.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2022.


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