PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Schools Regulatory Authority has directed all private educational institutions of the province not to charge students summer and winter vacation fee and warned violators of strict action.

“All private schools are strictly directed not to charge summer and winter vacation fee till further orders in the larger public interest,” declared a circular issued by the PSRA to all concerned.

The circular added that any violation of the above circular would render schools liable for penalties under KP-PSRA Act, 2017, and KP-PSRA Regulations, 2018.

The development comes as a huge number of people lodged complaints about summer fee collection by private schools through Pakistan Citizen Portal, Performance Management and Reform Unit of the chief secretary, and PSRA Complaint Management System.

The parents also held a meeting with chief minister’s adviser on elementary and secondary education Ziaullah Bangash on the issue.

Warns violators of strict action

PSRA managing director Sardar Asad Haroon told Dawn that the decision against vacation fee collection had been made in the ‘larger public interest’, while adviser to the chief minister Ziaullah Bangash had also been taken on board about it.

“I am the regulator and therefore, I can decide about it (fee),” he said when asked about the law’s provisions under which schools have been barred from collecting vacation fee.

The MD said there was no justification for fee collection during the summer vacation as the students didn’t go to school.

Asked how private schools will pay vacation salary to teachers, he said the educational institutions earned huge profits in the remaining nine months of the year, so they should pay salary to staff members from them.

Mr Haroon insisted that private schools had been illegally taking vacation tuition fee from students for a long time.

He said parents should lodge complaints about vacation fee with the PSRA for action, which included imposition of penalties and sealing of campuses.

The regulator issued several orders to private schools lately asking them not to charge tuition fee in advance and transport fee for summer vacation.

However, most schools didn’t act accordingly despite being fined by the PSRA.

Shahbaz Butt, a parent, said a private school where his children were enrolled had issued slips of tuition and transport fees for three months, including June, July and August.

“The school principal has warned me to immediately pay the three months fee in advance otherwise it will be doubled after the vacation,” he said.

In a statement issued here, the action committee of the Private Schools Association rejected the PSRA’s order on summer vacation fee declaring it ridiculous.

It claimed that the restriction on summer vacation fee was imposed by the Peshawar High Court but that was later set aside by the Supreme Court.

The committee asked private schools to charge students tuition fee on a monthly basis and not in advance.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2019