The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government is finally set to pass the private schools regulatory authority bill in the provincial assembly, despite stiff resistance from some treasury lawmakers.
Sources within the education department said the chances of the bill’s passing materialised after the government took owners of well-known private education institutions on board.
The step to regulate private schools was taken by the previous provincial government, which drafted a bill for setting up an authority within the government’s ambit. But the move drew ire of the private education sector at the time.
People familiar with the matter said the private school owners were successful in convincing some of the lawmakers to stand against the bill. Later, then education minister Sardar Hussain Babak tabled the bill in the house but it was later stuck in the selection committee due to alleged links of private school owners with some officials sitting on key posts at the time.
The bill was thrown into cold storage with the completion of the previous government’s tenure.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government raised the issue in veiled terms after coming to power, however, some ministers and MPAs with a network of private schools opposed the move.
Sources said the draft of the bill was ready four months ago but opposition by government officials was the main hurdle in its passage.
Moreover, the government will now be compelled to pass the bill from the assembly after losing a case pertaining to fee concession of private schools in the Supreme Court.
A senior official in the department said the government will stick to its plans of establishing the authority at any cost. He added the ‘harsh sections’ of the bill included in the previous government’s tenure, which were the main reason for the legislation becoming controversial, have been removed.
The official said after the budget session, the assembly will pass the Article 25-A bill followed by giving legal status to the private schools regulatory authority bill.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2014.
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