Private schools threaten week-long strike if government doesn’t accept their demands
The section of the private schools which observed a two-day strike against the government’s decision to regulate the fee structure of the private schools announced to open their institutions from tomorrow.
According to details, the private schools owners decided to end their strike against the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation Amendment) Bill 2015 after receiving assurances from Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana.
On the second day of the strike, major chains of elite schools including Beaconhouse, Lahore Grammar School, Salamat School System, Allied School System, City School, Learning Alliance, Lacas and Dar-e-Arqam remained closed throughout the province. However, individual private schools situated in every nook and corner of the province did not observe the strike because of the ongoing exams in their institutions, creating a rift in the ranks of various private schools associations.
All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) President Kashif Mirza, whose association observed the two-day strike, said on Wednesday that they are putting the strike call on hold temporarily as the Punjab governor has shown an interest in resolving the issue amicably. He said that their two-day strike has proved that most of the private schools have sided with their association and that they are against the bill passed by the Punjab Assembly.
“There are more than 97,000 private schools registered with our association; of them 90,000 remained closed for two days,” he said.
Kamran Malik from Pakistan Education Council (PEC), which represents the chain of elite schools in the province, told Pakistan Today that the Punjab governor’s statement had encouraged them to call off the strike.
“We have not been contacted yet by the government since the governor’s statement, but we are hoping that we will reach a workable plan with the government as the statement has come from a responsible person who holds an important office in the province,” Malik told Pakistan Today. He said that they could give a strike call for a whole week if the bill was not amended.
The bill passed by the Punjab Assembly last month restrains private school from increasing their fees without getting prior permission of the government. The bill also proposes a fine of up to Rs 20 million in case of non-compliance.
On the other hand, All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association President Adeeb Jawdani claimed that the strike call given by the elite schools proved to be a failure as 97 per cent of private schools in the province ignored the call. However, Jawdani was critical of the bill and said that it was detrimental to education in the province. He said that the reason to not observe the strike was the ongoing exams of the students. He said that Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashood had assured him that the schools, which are charging less than Rs 5,000 per month in fee would be exempt from the bill and that recommendations in this regard would be sent to the chief minister very soon.