Private Schools Increase Fee Despite PSRA Notification
The monthly tuition fee of private schools has shot up, although the educational institutions were closed for eight months in one year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to sources, the educational institutions have also violated directions of the Private Schools Regulatory Authority (PSRA) issued to them in July 2020, by increasing the fee.
As per the notification issued by PSRA, there would not be any raise in the fee this year (2020). The notification was accepted in the 12th meeting of the authority.
Many parents complain that they had been going here and there for demanding the authorities to force the private schools to take back the decision of increasing the fee but it was a useless effort.
The eventual beneficiaries of the pandemic were the private school owners. They had not only received tuition fees from the students without taking regular classes but also raised tuition fees from October 2020.
In the Covid-19 first wave, the educational institutions remained closed for six months from March to September 2020, while in the second phase, the institutions were closed again for more than two months from November 26 till January 31.
According to the sources, PSRA had decided not to increase the fee in light of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Epidemic Control and Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020. But the private schools have not followed the directions of PSRA and increased tuition fees from October last.
The parents came to know about the increase when the students were given fee slips in February after the schools were reopened during the second phase of the pandemic, they said.
As per sources in the elementary and secondary education department, PSRA has provided no relaxation to the parents in terms of regularising affairs of the private schools since its establishment in 2017. The proposed law for the establishment of PSRA suffered a long delay but after strong criticism and request of the parents, the previous PTI-government passed a useless KP Private Schools Regulatory Authority 2017.
According to an official, the authority had no powers to implement its decision before the powerful owners of the private school. The authority could impose a charge of up to Rs20,000 on schools for violation of the PSRA Act and Rs10, 000 for violation of its procedures. The fine under the Act became double for a violation on the second time, he added.
The fine was nothing for the owners of private schools as they already earned millions each month. For the execution of its decision, PSRA revised the law by increasing the fine up to Rs1 million, but the provincial government failed to implement the law due to pressure from the owners of private schools in the province.
The acting managing director of PSRA and special secretary of the elementary and secondary education department, retired Capt Shahbaz Nadeem, was not there for any comments.