KARACHI – Sindh School Educational Department has issued directives to private schools to comply with Supreme Court orders and reduce their fees by 20% if they are charging more than Rs5,000 per month currently. Sindh Private Institutions Director Dr Mansoob Siddiqui passed on these directives through a circular sent to all private school administrations.
The circular warned private schools that action would be taken against them in accordance with the Registration Act if they failed to comply with Supreme Court orders passed on January 1. Inspections teams comprising officials of Sindh private institutions directorate will visit schools to ensure compliance with judicial orders. A copy of the judicial orders was also attached with the circular. The Education department warning that action against schools violating these orders could be taken under the Sindh Private Education Institutions Regulation and Control Ordinance 2001 and the amendment acts of 2003 and 2005.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Dr Siddiqui said that 20% of the additional amount will be deducted from the fees of schools charging more than Rs5,000 so that the minimum fee would still remain at Rs5,000.
The right to increase 5% of the fees annually will be given to private schools in accordance with the Registration Act, he added. However schools may need permission from the registration authority regulatory body if they wish to increase fee by 6% to 8%.
According to Dr Siddiqui, the judicial orders also oblige parents to pay the fees but the school administration will not have the authority to suspend students. School administrations, can however, take disciplinary action against parents if they do not pay the deducted fees, he said.
The schools have been directed to continue the scholarships which have already been awarded to students. These judicial orders regulating fees are not just applicable to the 22 private schools in Karachi, fee hikes for which were being contested, but apply to private schools all over Pakistan.
Dr Siddiqui said that the schools have been restricted from firing teachers or decreasing their salaries because of the reduction in fees. He added that these orders were issued following the pleas filed in 2018.
Published originally in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2019.