IS the school fee being raised for the first time? Is the inflation this year unbearably higher than what it was in the past? Is the fee hike so high that parents who used to pay quietly in the past now find it impossible to pay the fee and have come out on roads?
The parents rightly point out that, according a Sindh government ordinance, private schools cannot increase the fee by more than five per cent, and that too after government approval. The school owners, however, thought they were providing such quality education that the parents would never object to their fee, and they were right, for parents continued to oblige.
Encouraged by parental acquiescence, some schools decided to enhance the standard of education by building one campus after another. By quality they meant building forts and palaces, enormous buildings, huge playgrounds, bus terminals, parking lots and ever-increasing new constructions. These huge campuses have ultimately become white elephants for which the parents must pay.
There were times when parents wrote letters to schools and were seen protesting silently in front of schools. But now that the school managements have turned the fee issue into a matter of pride and decided not to surrender, the parents of different schools have joined hands and raised their voice publicly at the press clubs and morning talk shows and going to court.
It should be remembered that the yearly fee increase of most private schools had always been more than 5pc in violation of the law. The managements construed the parents’ silence as acceptance and raised the fees to levels where parents of three or four children pay Rs150,000 to Rs 200,000 on average in terms of two-monthly fee.
The parents’ voice is becoming stronger, and they seem determined to take their movement forward until their goal is met.
Dr Mehjabeen Moeen
I AM a teacher in a private school and also a very worried parent. The growing differences between parents and managements of private schools is fast becoming a battle of egos.
Most Pakistanis are well aware about the condition of education in our country. This confrontation is likely to result in all sides losing. I have read a lot of bad things about the institution I chose not only for myself but for my children as well, and I have anguish in my heart.
I urge and implore parents not to take matters to a point of no return. They should realise that impulsive actions bring repercussions. Polluting innocent young and impressionable minds will do irreparable damage to society.
Let us teach our children how to resolve matters in a dignified way.
Tehniat Faraz Ahmed
Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2015