Some private schools have been charged with an amount of 20,000 rupees per day because of their non-compliance with the rules relating fee increases. On Friday hearing is held for more school heads.
District Education Authority (DEA) has been receiving many complaints against this fee hike from the parents. The parents complained against the Lahore’s leading schools. In response to all the complains the DEA is arranging hearings of school heads.
Schools can increase their fees at the start of the academic year up to 5% and can also increase up to 8% but only after the affirmation of DEA, according to the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) (Ordinance 2017). But, parents complained that the schools are violating the fees law and increasing the fees even during the academic session.
DEA responded to all the protest by conducting hearing sessions in person of all the guilty private schools. Schools have been provided a chance to justify their reasons for the fee increase. During the last month, all these hearings were held.
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Seventeen schools were fined by the Lahore, DEA this Wednesday and were asked to refund the overcharged fees back to parents. Presently the schools are fined Rs. 20,000 per day but this fine could increase up to Rs. 2 million if the schools fail to abide by the government rules. More than forty schools were accused of this fee scandal in Lahore district.
Bashir Zahid Goraya, CEO- Lahore DEA confirmed the news of schools being fined and further said that more schools are called for hearing on Friday.
PSPA’s (Private School Parents Association) Punjab Chapter President, Faisal Khalid Sheikh expressed his affirmation on the fact that some schools have taken back their fees to normal charges. He mentioned that 3 major school chains of the city are not following the government specified laws. He said that they would keep insisting and will not allow any school to overcharge parents from the specified amounts.
Mr. Sheikh also said that parents were not even satisfied with the 5% increase rule in fees per year as for doing this increment there was no justified reason. He further mentioned that parents had been striving to reach higher authorities like school education minister for changing this law. He said PEIRA (Pakistan Education Institutions Regulatory Authority) should specify a fee structure for private schools instead of allotting some percentage increments.
According to the Promotion and Regulation Amendment of Punjab Private Schools, the schools already charging above Rs. 4,000 every month could only increase fees by 5% at the start of the academic session and that also by the DEA’s approval.
Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif made a committee to consider this matter of overcharged fees by private schools. Shamil Ahmad Khawaja, Punjab Additional Chief Secretary chairs the committee.