PESHAWAR: The Private Schools Regulatory Authority, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Friday withdrew the half fee concession for the siblings enrolled in the same privately-owned educational institutions and for students during summer vacation.

The development comes in line of the recent Supreme Court orders to set aside the Peshawar High Court’s directives for private schools on fee relief.

In light of the high court’s decision, the PSRA had asked all private educational institutions on April 10, 2018 not to charge more than half of the tuition fee from second and third child of the same parents (kinship) enrolled with them.

The schools were also told not to charge students tuition fee during summer vacation.

However, in light of the expenditure like staff salaries and building utility bills and rent, the private schools were to be at liberty to charge the maximum of 50 per cent of tuition fee in addition to the annual charges.

Students won’t get summer break fee relief as well

Also, in light of the high court’s decision, the PSRA had ordered increase in annual fee by three per cent only.

The private schools had begun a protest across the province against the high court’s decision and even closed their campuses for several days. They had held demonstrations declaring the fee concession an injustice meted out to them.

An association of private schools later moved the Supreme Court, which set aside the high court’s orders and referred the matter back to the high court for fresh orders.

The parents had heaved a sigh of relief after the PSRA enforced the high court’s orders on fee concession two months ago but their happiness later proved short-lived.

“I was very happy when the school administration charged my kids half fee,” Mohammad Qasim of Hayatabad area told Dawn.

He however said he was later perturbed on getting slips of full fee for August with arrears of the half fee of the earlier two months in light of the high court’s orders.

“The month of August will be very tough for me as I have to pay full fee for this month and remaining half fee of the previous two months and purchase of the sacrificial animal,” he said.

The new PSRA circular said, “As per KP-PSRA Act 2017, up to 10% annual increase in tuition fee once in an academic can be made provided that prior approval of the KP-PSRA shall be obtained.”

According to the high court’s decision, which was set aside by the Supreme Court, the private schools were allowed to increase fee annually by three per cent only.

Under the new circular, the sibling fee concession to each child of the same parents enrolled in the same school was reduced from 50 per cent to 20 per cent.

The PSRA stopped private schools from charging students ‘capitation fee’ at the time of admission or afterwards and also said the schools were not allowed to suggest or force students and their parents to purchase stationery, books, uniform or any other thing from a particular outlet or entity.

It also said the facilities given to students at the time of admission would not be later withdrawn or reduced except with its (regulator’s) prior approval.

The circular said the students were not required to pay fee in advance except for a single calendar month.

“The fee of Rs1,000 a month or more is not allowed to be received in cash by the school and is compulsorily required to be deposited into bank account of the school.”

In a bid to prevent their exploitation, the regulatory authority directed private schools to ensure that the remuneration of teachers is compatible with the remuneration of the persons of similar qualifications and skills working elsewhere.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018