Private school regulation: ‘Influentials’ hindering legislation

Powerful owners, franchisees of schools including parliamentarians blamed for delays.

Riazul Haq January 13, 2013
The bill is an attempt to regulate the functioning of private schools in the Islamabad. PHOTO: FILE


The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Private Educational Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Bill, tabled in the National Assembly has yet to be passed as an act of Parliament due to certain vested interests.

The bill is an attempt to regulate the functioning of private schools in the Islamabad.

According to Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Ministry officials, influential politicians and businesspersons are derailing the move. “There are big names running private schools and colleges who do not want to come under government scrutiny,” they said.

The Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) was established via a Presidential Ordinance in September 2006. The bill was later referred to a committee for amendments on October 14, 2009.

PEIRA’s mandate is to register and regulate the affairs of private institutions functioning within the territorial jurisdiction of the ICT. According to PEIRA’s website, there are 722 PEIs registered with the body. These PEIs have a combined student body of over 100,000 students.

The sources said that hurdles have been created since PIERA was born. “It has been happening since 2006, when some of these people were in the cabinet, and they are still using the same tactics”.

The bill contains clauses which allow PEIRA to create uniformity in the fee structure and quality assurance, which worries some owners, the sources said.

In addition, more than 500 institutions are still functioning without having registered themselves with PEIRA.

The Private Schools Network (PNS) is a body which claims to work under registration and guidance of the Social Welfare Department and has always opposed the ordinance. PNS Spokesman Muhammad Afzal Babar told The Express Tribune, “There are certain faults in the ordinance, including requiring every franchise to be registered individually, so private institutions will be looted in the guise of inspection fees, registration fees, exam fees, etc,” he said.

While for the schools and colleges charging fee from 1,000 to over 5,000 monthly, he continued, “PEIRA has different mechanism of charging renewal fee.”

Babar further said that PEIRA Chairman Atif Kayani, who is also the coordinator for CAD, never appeared in any standing committee sessions or other meetings. “It shows how much he is interested in its functions. Besides, there are over 1,200 institutions but only 722 have been registered. Why not the rest?” he questioned curtly.

PEIRA President Kayani strongly refuted the allegations levelled by Babar. “How can CAD be held responsible for any of this six months after the bill was passed by the standing committee?”

About his disappearance from meetings, he said one can easily check my attendance. Replying to the question about not registering over 500 institutions, he said, unregistered schools and colleges cannot appear in any local or international examinations.

It is also understood that these institutions are earning millions and not paying any amount to the national exchequer in the form of tax, Employees Social Security or Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution payments, said another official.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2013. 


Asif | 11 years ago | Reply

The agriculture jagirdars and school jagirdars don't pay taxes. They both need to come under the tax laws.

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