Iftikhar Khan

PESHAWAR: The private schools in Khyber Pakhtukhwa have started preparations for increasing fees ahead of the admission month of March, while the Private Schools Regulatory Authority (PSRA) has not laid down any procedure about fees despite orders from the Peshawar High Court.

The PSRA is yet to come up with solutions to questions like annual increase in fee, extent of concession to siblings, fee during summer vacations etc.

The issue came under discussion on the mainstream and social media when nine people approached the PHC with applications against private schools over their controversial mode of charging fees. The High Court decided in favour of parents and stopped private schools from collecting fees during summer vacations. However, the private schools challenged this decision in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Supreme Court allowed private schools to only receive tuition fee of summer vacations and that too in installments, and also sent the case back to the PHC to further review it.

The PHC authorized the PSRA in October last year to devise a comprehensive strategy on the issue within two months, but it has not done so even five months after the PHC verdict. The PSRA said a board comprising Secretary Education, Director Education, MD PSRA and representatives of private schools has been constituted which has discussed all the issues. However, it did not provide details about outcome of the meeting.

MD Tashfeen Haider said the decisions made regarding fee structure will be revealed in coming days. Sources said the issue of fee increase between the private schools and PSRA is still unresolved and private schools are likely to increase fee according to their free will and parents will be the ultimate sufferers.

Haroon Khan, a Peshawar-based senior journalist, said while talking to TNN that stubbornness of private schools and lack of powers with PSRA are main causes behind this mess. He said the main school chains are owned by influential people, including lawmakers, who don’t care about PSRA and even violate the court orders. He said the Supreme Court has already asked private schools to fix fees on pattern of 2017, but private schools have simply ignored that order.

He said a draft about categorization of schools and fee structure has already been prepared by the board, but its implementation seems very difficult.