ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be a good news for parents, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has barred all the private educational institutions in the federal capital from receiving fee for the period of summer vacations.
During the hearing, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the much-awaited decision on Friday directed the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) that all these (private) institutions be restrained from receiving fee for the period of summer vacations till next date of hearing.
In compliance of order dated May 7, 2018, Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Secretary Furqan Bahadur Khan and PEIRA Chairman Hassnat Ahmed Qureshi said that the Lahore High Court (LHC) and the Peshawar High Court (PHC) partially restrained private educational institutions from receiving tuition fee etc during summer vacations.
“The PEIRA is directed that all private educational institutions be restrained from receiving fee for the period of summer vacations till next date of hearing. Amount of fee already paid by the parents/students shall be adjusted against fee for the period after vacations,” the decision reads. The hearing has been adjourned till June 20.
Talking to Pakistan Today, PEIRA Member (Academics) Imtaiz Qureshi said that the authority would implement the IHC’s verdict in to and would issue formal public notice in this regard. He said that now the private schools could not receive the summer vacation fee till further order and the schools which have already received the summer fees would be re-adjusted.
Imtiaz said that the private schools which would not comply with the court’s order would face contempt of court and they themselves would responsible for it. It is pertinent to mention here that LHC had already given decision regarding restraining private schools from collecting fees during summer vacation.
In 2015, LHC Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi, while hearing a petition filed by Advocate Sheeba Qaiser, had restrained owners of the private schools from collecting fee during summer vacations. The court had also directed the Punjab government and education department to take action under the law against the educational institutions for collecting summer vacations fee in advance; however even then schools are taking fees.
Hence, the Chief Executive Officer of Rawalpindi’s District Education Authority has also issued public notice regarding ban on collection of summer vacation fee in advance. The notice reads, “High Court has taken serious notice of collections of summer vacation tuition fee by most of the private schools in advance for the month of June/July, 2018.”
The notice reads, “So all Private Schools are directed not collect (Summer Vacation) tuition fee and in case of any complaint received from the parents, strict action will be taken against the defaulters.” Furthermore, the registration of the defaulters will be cancelled on violation of the government instructions.
Similarly, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Schools Regulatory Authority on May 7, 2018, requested the chief manager of the State Bank of Pakistan, Peshawar, to freeze the bank accounts of 22 private institutions for not implementing the fresh fee structure devised by it in light of the Peshawar Higher Court’s directions dated November 8, 2017.
The authority took this decision after PHC directed it to make a fee structure for all schools and stop them from increasing admission and tuition fees unilaterally. Due to the strict action, the private schools, which were earlier reluctant to implement the court orders and were not obeying the instructions of the recently formed regulatory authority, have agreed to collect only half of the tuition fees during the summer vacation, besides giving concessions to siblings and implement other instructions of the authority.
The private schools in the federal capital have already collected three-month advance fee before the start of summer vacations. A senior official wishing anonymity told this scribe that the PEIRA should also have to take PSRA like strict action to ensure implementation of the IHC’s decision otherwise it would be a herculean task to stop the private schools from receiving summer fees. He said that since most of the private institutes have already taken the summer fee so it would also be a great challenge for the PEIRA to ensure its readjustment.