–Schools doing business even in a global crisis, parents complain
ISLAMABAD: Parents of school going children in the federal capital on Sunday complained against private school administrations who are pressurising them to pay 2-3 months’ advance fee even during the lockdown, saying “the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) has become ineffective and we are now expecting the country’s chief executive to intervene”.
“The government is compensating other important sectors of the country during the pandemic and parents are no exception to this suffering. We demand a fee waiver for months of March, April and May, besides a government order barring schools to seek advance payment from us again,” reads an appeal to Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan circulated by a parents’ association on the social media.
The father of a grade 9 student associated with an elite school system requesting anonymity said he had received a notice for payment of three months’ advance fee, which was a clear cut violation of the instructions of PEIRA and against social norms during a crisis in which even human mobility was restricted.
“The Supreme Court’s (SC) verdict over the fee issue is even ridiculed by the school mafia while PEIRA also seems nowhere. We are well aware of the teachers’ problems who are paid salaries but demanding two to three months’ advance fee has no moral or legal justification,” said Rehan, father of grade 2 child having studying at a reputed school system.
“We are issued instructions and vouchers on Facebook accounts to deposit two months’ fee in advance,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, the parents have also criticised the private school’s online education system, saying, “It by no means fulfils international standards and does not justify the charges they are saving in lieu of utility bills, building rents, staffers’ travelling allowances and some other expenses.”
“The only facility they gave us and updated their system is that payment gateway is established to pay school fee online through Easy Paisa, Jazz Cash, Keenu, Upaisa and some other methods,” Hassan Nawaz, a practising High Court lawyer and father of siblings being enrolled with a well-known brand of school, said.
He said parents were overburdened due to online classes as no established international standards were in practice to teach the children online. “It’s just to make a case to mint fee claiming our children were being imparted education during the lockdown and closure of the schools,” he remarked.
It is pertinent to mention here that PEIRA, on March 30, had ordered the private educational institutions to only collect fees on a monthly basis as directed by the honourable courts and warned against the collection of advance fees but according to parents the PEIRA’s instructions were turned a deaf ear by a number of the school administrations.