PESHAWAR: Private schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have begun collecting summer vacation fee from students by violating a stay order issued by the Peshawar High Court against it.
The legal fight between schools and parents of the students has intensified as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Schools Regulatory Authority (PSRA) withdrew its 13 circulars issued from time to time, including the one through which the collection of summer vacation fee was banned.
Troubled by the decisions of private schools and PSRA, the parents insist that schools should have followed the stay order against vacation fee collection.
They say different schools are ‘victimising’ students not paying the ‘controversial’ fee.
Before the start of the summer vacation, the PSRA had issued a circular on May 30 saying, “All private schools are strictly directed not to charge summer/winter vacations fee, till further orders in the larger public interest.”
Regulator withdraws ban on summer fee insisting it was slapped by previous chief without authority
However, the authority in its meeting on Aug 27 withdrew the same circular along with 12 others, claiming those circulars were issued by its previous administration without the approval of the proper forum (Authority).
The high court had extended on Sept 4 the stay order it had issued earlier and stopped private schools from charging fee from students across the province until Sept 24.
Though several petitions of schools, parents and Peshawar District Bar Association are still pending with the court, schools have begun charging students summer vacation fee, a schoolchild’s father told Dawn.
He said the school’s administration didn’t follow the court’s decision and asked him to pay the summer vacation fee as well though he asked it to charge the September fee only.
The father said he was unable to submit four months fee of his children.
He said the orders of the court and regulator had confused parents as both institutions issued orders in favour of the latter but didn’t implement them.
PSRA managing director Tashfeen Haider told Dawn that members of the authority withdrew the previous circulars for being issued without the ‘approval’ of the ‘Authority’.
“However, the relief given to parents through majority of these circulars issued according to the law will remain intact,” he said.
Mr Haider said the law had no provision to prevent private schools from charging the summer vacation fee.
He said private schools couldn’t charge students money for security measures and admission, annual and other fee on other pretexts.
The MD said private schools were bound to give 20 per cent concession to more than one sibling enrolled on one campus.
Asked about the violation of the stay order, he said the authority had imposed fine on over 300 private schools across the province for seeking summer vacation fee.
Regarding the withdrawal of the 13 circulars by the authority, he said the decision implemented through circulars by the previous administration according to the law would remain intact.
“Insofar as the above cited circulars or notifications reproduce provisions of the PSRA Act-2017 and/or the PSRA Regulation 2018, the same are valid by reason of operation of the ibid act and regulation though the same cannot be viewed as circulars/notifications,” read a notification issued by the authority.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2019