PESHAWAR: With reference to the letter “The business of education” (April 9), I agree with the views expressed by the writer, highlighting the unethical practices associated with private schools in Pakistan. A couple of months ago, a relative in Peshawar, who couldn’t visit the school herself, asked me to collect her children’s school-leaving certificates from the private school they studied in. When I approached the school administration for the certificates, I was asked to pay for them. On my inquiry as to why a supposedly free-of-cost document is being charged for, I was told that this practice was commonplace in private schools. I met the principal, who was an elderly lady, and the meeting left me further astounded. She told me that they even charge admission fees from students who pass one grade and get promoted to the next.
Recently, the Secondary School Certificate Board examinations have started and the school asked students to pay Rs1,000 each on account of examination hall fees. When the school administration was asked the reason for this, it said that this amount will be given to the examination board. The new academic year is about to begin. Schools have already increased their tuition fees by 30-40 per cent without prior intimation to parents. This is obviously the expense which has been incurred by schools in the name of beefing up school security. Private schools in Peshawar have become vendors selling books, notebooks, stationary, uniforms, entertainment and recreational activities but are hardly imparting quality education. The majority of students who attend them take private coaching after school hours, adding to the woes of poor parents.
Syed Gohar Ali Shah
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2015.