KARACHI: A 25 per cent increase in tuition fee by The Generation School in North Nazimabad has forced parents to take to the streets and demand the administration take back its decision.
"How can a father like me who belongs to a middle-class family and has three children studying in private schools afford Rs38,000 as tuition fee for two months," asked a man, whose son studies in class one. He complained the fee at this school goes up by nearly 25 per cent every year.
Private schools are only allowed to increase their tuition fee by five per cent every year but, over time, it was extended to 10 per cent, said All Private Schools Management Association's Sindh chairperson Syed Khalid Shah. He told The Express Tribune that some schools hike up their fee by up to 35 per cent every year.
Generation is one of the best schools in North Nazimabad and every parent wants their children to get admission there, said another parent, Quratulain, whose two children are studying in pre-nursery and class two.
Can't pay? Change schools
What irked the parents of The Generation School was not only the hike in fee but the way the school management reacted to their concerns. After a large number of parents complained that the new fees were unfair, the school issued a notification - a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune - explaining the rise in fee and introducing a 'parent facilitation scheme' to help them move their children to a different school.
"The notice actually meant that if you cannot pay, then change schools," pointed out another protester.
If the parents accept this scheme, they can inform the front office through a written application after paying the current tuition bill by Friday, September 18. Parents have been given the option to either withdraw their children from the school now, or give in writing that they will be withdrawn by July 2016, in which case they will be allowed to pay the old fee.
The school fee should be regularised and someone should hold the schools accountable for charging such heft fees, complained a father of two. "They [schools] should be answerable to someone at least," he said, adding that reputable private schools have been engaged in the same practice for a long time.
Some media reports had claimed that similar protests were held at Beaconhouse School System as well. However, a Beaconhouse representative said their annual fee increase was not too high and that their parents have not complained.
Meanwhile, Generation school may be facing action as the Sindh director of private school education, Mansoob Ahmed Siddiqui, has written a letter to the school principal and requested a meeting. Siddiqui said he wants to discuss the reasons behind the 'illegal' realisation of tuition fee from parents. The school management was unavailable for comments.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2015.
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