Private Education Institutions Regulatory Authority to award rating category A, B or C to institutions
Registration made compulsory even for tuition and day care centres
The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) has issued a notification laying down new rules for private educational institutions in Islamabad. According to the notification, the institutes have been barred from increasing fees whenever they want. Furthermore, the process of registration and renewal has been streamlined, unnecessary formalities have been dropped off and renewal of registration has been much simplified.
The authority will carry out performance evaluation of registered institutions on a two-yearly basis and award a rating category of A, B or C based on factors spelt out in the rules. It has been made mandatory for institutions to not engage in any anti-competitive practice of uniform and product-tying with specific outlets.
As enshrined in the ICT-PEIRA Act 2013 and upheld recently by IHC, the authority shall implement a transparent criteria for determination and fixation of rate of fee being charged by the institutions. It will be based on cost methodology, objective rationalisation, criteria and financial model as set out in Schedule-V of the rules. Also, all private institutes are bound to celebrate national days.
The state of education in Pakistan is grim; the condition of government educational institutions in the capital is no exception and is deteriorating steadily. The lack of basic facilities, a predominantly aloof faculty, the absence of laboratories, huge difference between the teacher-to-student ratio and the overcrowded classrooms are just a few factors due to which the parents send their kids to private schools and colleges, who charge outrageous fees from parents under different titles.
Pakistan Today investigated about the prevailing fee structure of various private schools in Islamabad. The comparative analysis is presented below. The benchmark which was selected was playgroup, the beginner level of Montessori.
A parent in order to enroll his child in Beaconhouse School System, the leading private institution of the country, has to pay Rs 50,000 at the time of admission including admission and security, and then Rs 26,000 every two months. The Roots School System charges around Rs 76,500 at the time of admission from a toddler and it includes monthly fees, admission, security, registration, and annual resource and then Rs 11,500 per month. The City School charges a play group student Rs 10,000 per month and Rs 47,000 at the time of admission.
The Pak Turk Schools charge Rs two lakh from a play group student for the whole session; it is almost Rs 17,500 per month for a three-year-old student. Froebel’s International School, an elite school, asks Rs 80,000 at the time of admission and then Rs 15,000 per month to educate a child of the play group. An amount of Rs 50,000 needs to be deposited at the time of admission at Global System of Integrated Studies (GSIS), and then a monthly fee of Rs 6,000 is to be paid. Head Start School System charges Rs 50,000 at the time of admission and per month fee is Rs 12,000.
During the whole month of September, 2015, the parents protested over excessive and arbitrary increase in the fees by private schools in all major cities of Pakistan. The voices raised were of frustrated parents who lost their patience when private schools kept on demanding more money under various guises e.g. resource funds, stationery, books, uniforms, sports gala, expenses for co-curricular activities etc. Eventually, the federal government intervened and the dust settled.
The performance of Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA), a regulatory authority of private schools under CADD, is impassive at best. Its act was passed in 2013 and it has a legal mandate to keep an overall check to regulate and register the Private Education Institutes (PEIs) in order to regulate the rate of fees. Finally, the citizens have something to look forward to.
The private institutions cater to a huge number of people in Islamabad. According to the data available on PEIRA’s site, there are a total of 1,069 private institutes in both rural and urban Islamabad. The total number of students is 221,125 in which boys are around 126,286, whereas girls are around 94,839 in number. Around 15,000 teachers are currently employed by these institutions.
CADD Director Public Relations Saqib despite repeated attempts wasn’t available for a comment.
When called for a comment, the officials at PEIRA told Pakistan Today that the new chairman Musaddaq Ahmad Khan has taken charge of the office and the consultations with all stake holders is currently underway.
“The main focus of such consultations is to reach a consensus over a uniform policy,” the official said.