Private schools in Sindh ignoring govt order for fee relief sent another letter

Updated April 08, 2020

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The letter also said that in case the parents still had any complaint regarding the non-compliance of the directives, they may lodge their complaints with the complaint cell established in the directorate. — AFP/File
The letter also said that in case the parents still had any complaint regarding the non-compliance of the directives, they may lodge their complaints with the complaint cell established in the directorate. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Despite a notification issued by the Directorate of Inspection/Registration of Private Institutions, Sindh School Education and Literacy Department on April 1 for schools to provide relief in the form of concession of at least 20 per cent in April and May’s fees, many schools, especially the expensive elite ones, have chosen to ignore the order.

As a consequence of their reluctance, and taking strict notice of it, the directorate of inspection issued a second letter regarding the matter on Tuesday.

The second letter reminds schools that it is mandatory for every school to grant the concession to provide financial relief to the parents and guardians of students affected by the coronavirus lockdown. “This may strictly be complied in letter and spirit,” the notification said.

It also said that in case the parents still had any complaint regarding the non-compliance of the directives, they may lodge their complaints with the complaint cell established in the directorate. The teaching and non-teaching staff employed in private schools have also been encouraged in the letter to register their complaints with the directorate in case they are not being paid their salaries for the days of closure of the schools during the coronavirus outbreak.

Govt seeks 20pc concession in April, May fees

They have also been provided with phone numbers, including the directorate’s number: 021-99217490. The other numbers for registering complaints are: Riaz Ahmed (03332343148), Muhib Ali (03333932441) and Waqar (03337036425).

Speaking to Dawn about the schools’ issue with non-compliance of the orders, Syed Tariq Shah, chairman, Private Schools Management Association Sindh, who is also general secretary of the National Education Council Pakistan, said that it is very difficult for them to obey these directives in these challenging times.

“The schools are being told that they must have saved a lot of money on electricity bills because they have been closed, but K-Electric is sending us bills on average. Therefore there is going to be no saving there. Then we have other fixed costs such as taxes that we have to pay through our nose,” he said.

“The government is giving relief to parents, to school staff but not to private schools. The price of flour, rice or sugar and other commodities has not gone down. But the government doesn’t see that. They are giving relief to the poor people by distributing free ration bags, but there is no relief for private schools in these times of inflation and lockdown,” he said.

“I want to ask the government that when private hospitals are charging the same fees from patients, what have the private schools done?” he said, adding that the second letter by the directorate had been issued rather late on Tuesday and they were calling a meeting of all the private schools associations to discuss their next point of action.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2020