Rein in the private school mafia, say protesters

Rein in the private school mafia, say protesters

Rein in the private school mafia, say protesters

The Students Parents Federation of Pakistan (SPFP) called for the government to rein in the private school mafia, which they claimed collects thousands of rupees in hidden charges, at a protest outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday. The government should order private schools to waive tuition fees during the summer break, they insisted.

The protesters, led by SPFP Chairperson Nadeem Mirza, demanded that the issue of additional fees charged by schools needed to be resolved before schools are allowed to reopen. Holding placards and shouting slogans, the protesters maintained that they were not consulted on the decision to reopen schools, which have remained shut during the pandemic thus far.

The demonstrators represent 25 million students of private schools as well as 50 million public school students, said Mirza addressing a press conference.

“Unemployment in Pakistan has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic but private school owners are demanding tuition and annual fees with increments as usual,” he said, adding that educational institutes were canceling admissions of students over non-payment of fees as well. The school owners are also not complying with judicial orders to reduce their monthly fees by 20 per cent, he claimed.

The attitude of school management with parents is insulting, opined Mirza. Why is tuition fees being demanded for months that the schools remained shut and students were not even in schools, he asked.

Mirza divided the schools into five categories based on the fees charged by them. Schools charging less than Rs1,000 were classified as category A, schools charging under Rs,3000 as category B, those charging between Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 came under category C, Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 in category D, and schools with fees over Rs10,000 were classified as category E, by Mirza.

From kindergarten to grade I, no fees should be charged by any school falling in these five categories, according to Mirza. From grade I onwards, 60 per cent fees may be charged by schools in category A, 50 per cent by schools in category B, 40 per cent in category C, 30 per cent in category D, and 20 per cent for schools falling under category E, he demanded.

“The parents will pay the fees fixed by the government, and the schools will be bound to apply the fee structure approved by the education department, while no annual fees will be charged this year,” said Mirza, listing out the demands of the SPFP. Moreover, all schools should be bound to conduct online classes from grades II to X, and the schools that don’t, cannot be authorised to collect fees, he added.

He further called for fee charges during summer break to be waived off, and no payment for van drivers either during the months that the schools remained closed.

Warning of country-wide protests if the government allows schools to reopen without resolving the issues pertaining to fees, Mirza asked that the demands of the SPFP be met immediately. Further demands will be put forth once the schools resume, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2020.


2021 © Campus Guru. All Rights Reserved.