Schools can’t force parents to pay increased fees: SHC

Over 300 parents had gone to court against unsolicited fee hikes

Naeem Sahoutara October 06, 2015
A protest outside Karachi Press Club where parents and other individuals spoke out against the raising of school fees in private schools on September 17, 2015. PHOTO: ONLINE


The Sindh High Court (SHC) restrained on Tuesday the management of a private educational institute from taking any coercive action against dozens of its students on account of collection of the increased tuition fees.

A division bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, also directed the provincial chief secretary, the secretary of the education and literacy department, the education director, the administrator of the Generation's School and others to file comments, explaining the rationale behind the recent hike in tuition fees.

These directives came on a petition filed by over 300 parents of students, who are studying at the two campuses of the Generation's School in Karachi. The parents had taken the school's management, along with the education authorities, to court over demands to pay the increased tuition fees.

Read: Fee-hike controversy: Private schools to resolve matter in two weeks

The petitioners, including Moiz Ishaq and Farhan Hussain, said that their children were currently studying in different standards at the SITE and North Nazimabad branches of the Generation's School.

The judges were informed that the management of the school had suddenly increased the tuition fees for different grades. It was stated that the students' parents did not pay the excessive fees after which the school's management was writing letters, pressuring them to clear the dues. The parents told the judges that they wanted their children to get quality education, but it had been made very difficult for them to continue their children's education due to the exorbitant increase in fees.

They argued that the raise in fees was a violation of the Sindh Private Educational Institutions (Regulation and Control) ordinances of 2003 and 2015. Under Section 6 of the relevant law, the fee structure must be fixed with prior approval of the government, they added.

The petitioner recalled that the government had issued certain directives against the increase in tuition fees by private educational institutes, but the management was not acting upon them.

The parents also requested the court to restrain the school management from taking any action against their children for the purpose of collecting the increased fees.

Earlier, the parents of children studying in private schools had taken to the streets in a movement that quickly spread across the country, against the unsolicited hike in tuition fees.

The campaign, started by a few parents of Generation's School, grew city-wide in a week's time. Many parents from other major schools also joined them in their fight against the fee raise through Facebook and Twitter trends.

The parents had demanded a monitoring body to scrutinise the increase in fees.

During Tuesday's hearing, the petitioners' lawyer, Mehreen Ibrahim, recalled that an interim order was passed in a similar case earlier. Therefore, the same order may be passed in the present petition, the lawyer requested the judges.

The bench issued notices to the chief secretary, the education and literacy department's secretary, the director of education, the school's administrator and others to file their comments by the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, 'no coercive shall be taken against the petitioners till the next date of hearing. The petitioners shall, however, continue to pay the current fee to the school management as is applicable,' reads the order.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2015.


RAEES | 6 years ago | Reply Can courts force people to pay court fee for justice?
Uza Syed | 6 years ago | Reply No coercive action should be allowed ever against anyone. All such money hungry owners like the owners of this school called 'Generation' must be warned not to convert education into a money making venture and if they continue with their mission of extortion then SHC must order the government of Pakistan to nationalize this and all such schools. Another option can be to hand it over to some kind of a 'trust' run by representatives of parents.
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