Amina Khan

PESHAWAR: Parents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have condemned the owners of private schools for announcing two day strike on 23 and 24 April against government’s decision of reducing fees in private educational institutions across the province.

On April 17, the Private Schools Regulatory Authority (PSRA) asked the private schools to charge half fee during summer vacations and give 50% relief to parents whose two or more children are enrolled in a school.  The owners of these schools have refused to comply with the orders and announced a province wide two day strike against them.

Parents appreciate that the government has taken right step by establishing (PSRA) which will stop their exploitations at the hands of private schools management.

Hamid Rasul Niazi, principal paramedics at Gandhara University Peshawar said that giving quality education to the future generations should be the top most priority of private schools. However, he said it is not the case now a days as private sector education has become more of a business thing.

“The competition for better education has increased and so have the standards. But making it a source of income and business is to deprive many poor children from quality education,” he said and added the private schools are earning much more than a person can think of, so they can easily manage paying teachers and the buildings rents even if they implement fee structure designed by PSRA.

Niazi said that schools’ strike is leaving a bad impact on the Education system and future generation.

Welcoming the new act in Education reforms, a housewife Eyesha said that the government has done a brilliant job by providing relief to parents. She said that private schools are also working like government schools nowadays.

“They lack quality education and their standards are not at par the hefty fee they charge. Besides, 35-45 students are placed in a classroom and it has become a common practice in all schools. It is difficult for a teacher to pay proper attention to a class of 40 student,” she lamented.

She adds “If the parents are paying a high fee then they expects standard service from the school too. So if the school cannot satisfy the parent then they should charge according to their structure”.

Outraged artist Sadia Nasir said that parents should stand for their rights, why should the schools should charge for transport during summer vacations? Whats the logic behind it?, she raised questions and suggested that these schools need to charge a small amount just for maintenance during summer rather than charging wholesome amount and that too in advance.

Samina Bangash said that private schools function like mafia against the poor parents,therefore, they should be united against the self-imposed fee structure of these schools.

However some working women supported the teachers strike and said that private schools should work independently as their owners have invested huge amount in the business.

Mehvish Sethi said that it is always parents own choice to put their kids in private school. If they are not happy with private school, they can enroll their kids in government schools, she argued.

Teacher Sundus Mahrukh favored the strike by saying if parents don’t pay fee for summer vacations, the teachers will not be paid by owners.

Roughly 45 thousand private schools will be closed on April 23rd and 24th across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

On the order of Peshawar High Court, the PSRA had ordered the educational institutes across the province that no private schools will increase the fee structure or take additional fee from parents until the process of fee structure is completed. The private schools were also directed not to receive full monthly tuition fee from students before Summer vacations, otherwise stern actions shall be taken

While talking to Tribal News Network, president of Primary Education Institutions Management Association Yawar Naseem said that the private schools totally oppose the creation of PSRA as they have strong grievances over it.

He maintained that the new act under which PSRA was established has  certain flaws that need to be emended. However, he did not explain his the flaws in the act.