PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) Tuesday observed that the private schools must not harass the parents by demanding fee.

A two-member bench of the PHC, headed by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and Justice Lal Jan, heard a petition filed by parents of students against demand of fee by private educational institutions for the period of lockdown.

The lawyer for the petitioners said the government has given only 10 percent relief in fee which is negligible, while the schools are harassing students and parents for submitting fee. The lawyer argued that as the schools remained closed for seven months during the coronavirus lockdown, therefore, the fee of seven months must be remitted.

The court issued notices to the provincial government and Education Department and observed that the students must not be harassed for fee. The hearing of the case was adjourned till October 14.

Educational institutions in Pakistan were closed in March this year after the outbreak of coronavirus and now all the schools are being reopened gradually. With the reopening of schools, the administration of schools is demanding full fee, including admission fee, from students for the last seven months.

Parents say they are continuously receiving messages and calls from schools for payment of fee every month and many parents have submitted fee regularly. However, there are many other parents who were unable to pay the fee due to financial constraints after coronavirus lockdown which impacted almost every sector of economy.

The parents who have not submitted the fee are of the view that their source of income was affected during lockdown and they could not earn enough to pay fee. They are demanding the government and private schools to remit the fee of last seven months or at least announce a reasonable concession, but the private schools are not willing.

Parents also argue that the private schools haven’t paid salaries to their staff during the lockdown, so what is the moral ground for demanding fee from students. The teachers of private schools who are re-joining duties are not being paid even a single salary. Some teachers are also being told that they may face cut in salaries as parents are demanding concession in fee.

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