ISLAMABAD: A number of upscale private schools are yet to comply with the Supreme Court order to reduce their tuition fee by 20pc and refund 50pc of the summer fee which they had received last year.
Sources in the Private Educational Institution Regulatory Authority (Peira) told Dawn that all schools which charged tuition fee in excess of Rs5,000 per month had been directed by the apex court to make a 20pc reduction in their fee, refund 50pc of the summer fee and submit the compliance reports to the authority.
The compliance reports were to be submitted in order to ensure the implementation of the court order. However, so far a number of private schools have not submitted the reports.
Following the court order, Peira also issued a public notice directing all schools in Islamabad to submit compliance reports by Dec 31.
According to the regulatory authority’s documents available with Dawn, institutions including Beaconhouse School System, The Educators School System, OPF Schools and College, Aims Education System, The City Schools, SLS School System, Global System of Integrated Studies (GSIS), Bahria Foundation Schools and Colleges, EMS School System, Fazia School System, Imperial International School, Pak-Turk Schools and International Islamic University Islamabad School System did not submit the compliance reports.
Officials in Piera said most of the other schools had submitted compliance reports which included Froebel’s, Headstart and Roots Schools (all groups).
However, parents of children studying in a chain of schools with branches across the twin cities that also submitted a “compliance” report to Peira alleged that the school management was misleading parents, Peira as well as the apex court.
Some of the parents told Dawn that the school system did not implement the apex court order regarding the fee reduction and the summer fee return.
One of the parents said when he approached the school management and asked about non-implementation of the 20pc fee reduction order, he was told that the school had already submitted its fee details to the apex court which were much higher than the ones students were being charged.
Even if 20pc reduction is made to the actual fee, parents would end up paying much more than what they are being currently charged, the school claimed, according to the parent.
Another parent said the fee vouchers issued to his children for over 10 years showed that there was no mention of any discount or fee relaxation offered by the school to the students.
He said the school management might have submitted exaggerated fee details to the court to avoid reduction in the fee.
When contacted, Peira Chairman Imtiaz Qureshi said a majority of high-fee charging schools had submitted their compliance reports.
When asked about the compliance report submitted by one of the school chains, Mr Qureshi said: “We will look into this issue and if anything is found in violation of the Supreme Court order we will take action against the owners of the school in question.”
He said all private schools operating in Islamabad were bound to make 20pc reduction in the tuition fee and refund 50pc summer fee they had charged.
In reply to a question, he said: “It’s not true that upscale schools are not submitting compliance reports. If you are talking about Beaconhouse, yes they are yet to submit the report but almost all others major schools have submitted their reports.”
The Peira chief said the schools’ operators had been directed to submit compliance reports about reducing their fee by 20pc by Dec 31. For adjusting or refunding the summer fee, Feb 12 has been fixed by the Supreme Court, he added.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2019