–School Education Minister Murad Rass gives one-week ‘ultimatum’ to schools to reduce fee, issue revised challans
LAHORE: Private schools on Wednesday reduced their tuition fee by 20 per cent but hinted at taking the matter to court after the Punjab government gave a one-week ultimatum to them to give concession for the months of April and May 2020 and issue revised challan forms to students.
A circular issued by a private school system to parents stated that the fee bill for the month of April was being issued with a 20 per cent reduction however “the school reserves the right to contest the reduced amount in accordance with the provisions of the law”.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Minister for School Education Dr Murad Raas told reporters that he had held a meeting with the private school owners “five or six days ago” wherein they “flat out” refused to give concession.
“However, today, we are giving them one-week time [to follow the government’s directives and] to issue revised fee challans,” he said, adding that in case of non-compliance, concerned parents can lodge a complaint with the School Education Department on a helpline which will be announced soon both on the social media and mainstream media.
“I’m asking parents not to submit fee unless you get your new challan forms,” he said, adding: “This should not be a big deal [for schools] […] we are only asking for a two-month relief.”
Minister for School Education @DrMuradPTI‘s media talk on reduced fees of private schools.
— School Education Punjab (@SchoolEduPunjab) April 8, 2020
The ultimatum comes two days after the Punjab government directed private schools in the province to give 20 per cent concession in tuition fee in addition to collecting the fees of the following two months separately.
In a news briefing, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had said that private schools have also been directed to not layoff their employees.
On the other hand, All Pakistan Private Schools Association President Kashif Mirza said that they haven’t received an official notification over the matter so far.
“How are we supposed to pay [teachers] when we are not receiving even 1% of the fee,” he asked.
“We are not even allowed to open the gates of the schools,” he said. “We will consult our lawyers and then announce our stance on the decision,” Mirza added.
Speaking about laying off employees, Mirza said no school in Punjab has done it yet and won’t in future as well.
Residents have lauded the government’s decision. Some said that the fees’ should be further reduced to 50%.
All schools across Punjab will remain closed till May 30 due to the rising cases of COVID-19 which has infected nearly 1,500 people in the province so far.