LAHORE: The Punjab government on Tuesday promulgated an ordinance that allowed all kinds of schools, including those for special persons, to annually increase their fees by five per cent and, in special cases and with permission, eight per cent.
Those charging less than Rs4,000 a month are allowed to increase their fees up to this amount, officials said.
Schools Education Secretary Abdul Jabbar Shaheen said the ordinance applied only to schools.
The ordinance states that schools include those institutes preparing students for pre-primary, primary, elementary, high, higher, secondary, O’ levels, A’ levels, General Certificate of Secondary Education, Human Scale Education or any other similar system of education.
Any other institution imparting vocational, commercial technical or other specialised education leading to a certificate recognised by the government or a board of education or an institution for special persons also comes under the definition of schools.
The Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) (Amendment) Ordinance 2017 states that the original law of 1984 was being amended to allow “reasonable” increase of fees per annum. A school charging Rs4,000 per month or above shall not charge the fees at a rate higher than 5pc of what was charged during the previous academic year.
But this limitation shall not apply to a school charging less than Rs4,000 a month from a class of students inclusive of the increase in the fees.
If there is a reasonable justification for increasing existing fees at more than 5pc, the school in-charge, at least three months before the commencement of the next academic year, would have to apply to the registering authority incorporating a justification.
The registering authority could, after affording an opportunity of hearing to the in-charge and recording reasons, reject the application for increase in the fee or allow a reasonable increase not exceeding 8pc of the fee charged for the class during the previous academic year. The authority would take a decision within 30 days of the receipt of the application.
The ordinance allows for the 2016-17 academic year as one-time dispensation that if a school is charging Rs4,000 per month or above, and intends to increase it more than 5pc, the in-charge within 60 days from the commencement of the ordinance, may apply for the proposed increase with the registering authority.
The authority shall decide the application within 15 days of the receipt of the application.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2017