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Implementation of courts’ school fee verdict a tough task

Like always, private schools mafia has increased tuition fees by 12 to 60 percent in violation of the law of the land. But, this time many parents have decided to stand against illegal fee hike and moved various courts of the country. temporary relief has also been provided to them by the courts but parents still seek permanent relief and resolution of the matter once for all. importance of the matter can be assessed from the fact that all high courts and supreme Court of Pakistan has taken its notice.

It is a high time for society and parents to stand against this organized mafia and support the courts and organizations fighting against these culprits. Government of Pakistan and provincial governments should also take firm steps against this mafia as it’s their responsibility to provide free education to kids as promised in constitution of Pakistan.

Article 25A of the constitution states that “the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” Here is the latest position of the matter in various courts of the country.

ISLAMABAD HIGH COURT (IHC)

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) affirmed its earlier verdict and ordered private schools not to charge a fee during the months of June and July. Justice Shaukat Aziz headed the court proceedings and heard the case against the private schools. “Charging excessive fee counts as contempt of court,” Justice Siddiqui remarked during the proceedings. “Trade of education is a sheer injustice,” Siddiqui lamented and warned that schools charging fee will be sent contempt orders.

PESHAWAR HIGH COURT (PHC)

Similarly, Peshawar High Court also barred private schools not to charge more than 50 percent of the tuition fee during vacations of more than 30 days. Furthermore, there shall be complete ban on charging students for transport charges during vacations. PHC also ordered that increase in tuition fee shall not be more than 3 percent annually. section 8 (2) (i) of the Act provides that the PsrA shall sanction annual increase in fee not in excess of up to 10 per cent to be charged from the students, but not more than once in an academic year. the regulations (formulated after court verdict) provide that the institutions shall not charge more than half of the tuition fee from second/third children of the same parent. it was in 2012 when then high court’s chief justice Dost Mohammad Khan had taken notice of the non-regulation of the affairs of private educational institutions and had directed then provincial government to enact a comprehensive law in this regard as the then law, KP registration and Functioning of Private educational institutions Ordinance, 2001, had several loopholes.

SINDH HIGH COURT (SHC)

Similarly, the sindh High Court (sHC) ruled that private schools would not increase tuition fee beyond the 5% permissible under the law. A two-judge bench also ordered the education department to strictly act in accordance with the law and submit quarterly reports to the court in respect of the registered private schools’ audit as well as enforcement of the 5% rule. earlier, the court had nullified arbitrary and exorbitant fee hikes by some private educational institutes in the city and restrained them from raising it again beyond 5%.

LAHORE HIGH COURT (LHC)

The Lahore High Court directed the provincial government to notify “the Punjab Free and Compulsory education Act, 2014” to ensure enforcement of fundamental right of education and also responsibility of private schools for free education. the bench in its verdict said that for any increase already made in fee for academic year 2015-2016 at a rate higher than the fee charged for the class during academic year 2014-2015 or beyond five percent for next academic year i.e. 2016-2017 and increase more than eight percent for academic year 2017-2018, the relevant private schools shall submit supportive material justifying the increases with the authority concerned within 30 days. In case, no such material was submitted within stipulated time or the said increases were otherwise not found justified by the authority, the amount received beyond limit shall either immediately be refunded to the students/parents or adjusted in the next fee bill of the students. Court has also barred schools from making parents buy school books or uniforms from any specific shops. Schools are not supposed to take any extra charges except the tuition fee, security and admission fees. Court has asked the schools to compensate parents’ complaints and work according to the needs of the modern times.

SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN (SC)

The SC, which heard the appeals at its Lahore registry on May 30, rejected schools’ appeals to issue stay orders on the decisions and asked all parties in the case to submit their replies. “this is a serious issue and the court is considering a suo motu notice,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked. He observed that a number of people have opened private schools “where they exploit parents. they seem to be forced to pay more in fees than their salaries. the private school mafia seems to have destroyed public schools by colluding together. the court was aware of how school franchises are created. everything seems to have been done for the benefit of private schools”, CJ remarked. He also asked that the court be apprised on what grounds withholding tax was being charged from students. Chief Justice further remarked that SC may ask government to nationalize private educational institutions.

Dear Parents! Come up and snub this mafia as it’s high time to stand against this mafia for the bright future of our kids. team the educationist is with you for this noble cause. Long live Pakistan.

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