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LAHORE: The parents association on Saturday launched a protest against private schools for harassing their children and not implementing order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding fee cuts.

A large number of parents and their children gathered at the Liberty Chowk and for the protest against the government and the private schools. The protesters were carrying placards, banners and posters, inscribed with slogans against high fee in private schools.

The protesters chanted slogans against the Punjab School Education Minister Murad Raas for not implementing the Supreme Court orders on reversal of tuition fee in summer vacation and around 20pc fee cuts.

Parent Association General Secretary Sajeel Usmani said the private schools should implement the Dec 13, 2018 order of the Supreme Court; otherwise, they would file a contempt of court petition against them.

He said the Lahore High Court (LHC) also had directed the Punjab government to notify the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014 and constitute a regulatory regime for its implementation within 90 days. He said the government had not constituted any regulatory regime even after passage of 10 months or so, adding that the regime was not constituted because it had to form the rules for increase in fee and set up a standard for it.

“It would have to check the profit of the private school, teachers, building and provision of other facilities and buildings rent and its increase,” Mr Usmani demanded.

He added that the private schools had bound the parents to purchase books and school uniforms from their shops and there was no equal standard fee for any one class. He said the government had not set up any centre that could address the complaints and grievances of the parents.

The protesters demanded that the government continuously monitor the private schools and check provision of all facilities promised during registration of the students.

They said a private school administration had harassed the children of Dr Mahim, a member of parents association, and expelled the students over fee issue.

Another protester, Amber Zaidi, deplored that the private schools were not implementing the superior court orders and the government was doing nothing to implement it.

The parents demanded the PTI government implement its manifesto as they had promised free and qualitative education for all in their election campaign. They also demanded the government allocate four percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for education according to international standard.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2019