Islamabad: “Unprecedented hike” in fee of private school forces parents to pull their children out in Pakistan.
A grade-19 officer of prestigious Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) income tax group, who wished to go unnamed because government employees aren’t authorized to speak to media, told the administration of a leading chain of private schools— to pull his two children out when he was asked to deposit Rs. 100,000 fee of two months of his two kids.
“I can’t afford Rs. 100,000 to pay you (the school’s administration). And please withdraw my kids instead,” the official told the school administration by phone. News Lens Pakistan heard the conversation.
Later, in a detailed interview, the enraged official said he is virtually fed up because the school demands his kids almost every month to pay fee for a music function, picnic party, New Year party and parents’ day party.
“According to my perception, private schools are “money-making machines and hike in fee has virtually held education sector hostage in Pakistan. Private schools have monopoly because there is no coordination among parents,” he rued.
Altaf Noori, assistant professor at a public school and college in Islamabad, told News Lens Pakistan that education upto matric or O-level is free at public schools.
“The public sector schools and colleges are comparatively result-oriented than private schools,” Noori remarked.
Comparatively, he said, children of public schools every year demonstrate better results than the country’s private institutions.
Even owner of Roots International Schools and Colleges— another leading chain of private educational institutions— got his children admitted in public schools instead, he added.
Besides academic activities, special focus is given on children to strengthen their moral values at public schools, he added.
Some private schools such as Beaconhouse, City School, Froebel, The Educators, “they have more focus on extra-curricular activities than the curriculum,” he added.
“Private schools charge heavy fee without keeping in view paying potential of parents,” Noori noted.
Aitchison College Lahore, Lahore Grammar School, Beaconhouse School System, The City School and LACAS are considered among the top five chains of schools in Pakistan.
Shakil Ahmad, another lecturer at a public school in Islamabad, said that parents whose children are studying in private educational institutions are under immense pressure because they couldn’t “afford burgeoning fee.
“The Froebels school— a private school chain— some two years back charge one student of A- level Rs. 25,000 per month,” Ahmad said, adding despite the fact that there is no much difference in curriculum of both private and public schools.
Dilawar Naeem, a fruit vendor, whose two daughters are enrolled at a government school wished that he wants his children to go to leading private school but he could not afford high fee.
“When people with handsome income can’t afford fee of private schools, a common person can’t even think to equip his/ her kids with good education,” he added.
Salim Abbasi, 40, owner of a garment store in Rawalpindi, pulled his three children out of the private school and got them admitted to a public school.”
“I used to pay Rs. 3,000 fee monthly to The Educators for my one kid while a public school where I got my kids admitted has zero fee at all,” Abbasi remarked.
Tussle between Punjab government and All-Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) and Pakistan Education Council (PEC)— a representative body of the elite chain schools over fee hike, has gained momentum in the past weeks.
The APPSF and PEC have kept all private schools closed in Punjab province on March 8-9 in a bid to mount pressure on the government not to interfere in the private educational institutions’ affairs.
In addition, the APPSF and PEC had to lodge protest against Private Educational Institutions Bill 2015, under which private schools could not raise fee up to 5% annually but if they (private schools) need to increase fee they would this with prior approval of the government.
Most of the parents are worried about the unchecked increase in fee by private schools but the problem is that there is no platform for scattered parents to raise their voice collectively, Ibrahim Anis whose three children study at a private school in Islamabad told News Lens Pakistan.
Kashif Mirza, president All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (PPSF), in his email reply said, “APPSF rejects the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) Bill (Amended) 2015.” The bill was passed by the Provincial Assembly.
Paper obtained by News Lens Pakistan from the PPSF said that Private schools conservatively educate more than 50% of children in Pakistan, and nearly 60% in Punjab.
“There are 173,110 private schools all over Pakistan. About 23,839,431 students are studying in these private schools,” the documents stated.
In addition, it said that approximately 1500,000 teachers work at these schools.
Mirza said that private schools are treated as fully commercial entities by the government, which pay 33% income tax, 17% GST, 3% Super Tax, 6% Social Security and heavy property commercialization fees and others.
However, Anis said that concerned government departments such as the education department are reluctant to take action against the powerful “mafia of private schools.”
When contacted, Kamran Malik, who represents PEC, said that Punjab government has got the mentioned Bill 2015 passed without amendments suggested by a committee to assess affairs of the private schools.
“The government is showing complete disregard to proposals floated by private schools with regard to issues pertaining to fee while passing the bill,” he remarked.
Malik said, “The government has brought the latest law without looking into ground realities.”
Both the bodies representing the private schools threatened to continue their protest if the government fails to amend the law and allay their concerns.
Mujeeb Sheikh, an educationist in Islamabad, said that the only losing party in the ongoing wrangling between the Punjab government and private schools’ association is the parents and their children.
“The government needs to work out a decent approach to deal with private schools because parents in remote areas have only one option to educate their kids, which is private schools,” Sheikh remarked.
But Mirza said that the average fee increase of private schools has varied between 10% to 12%. For example, he said, Aug/Sept 2015 fee increase was in fact the outcome of children moving from pre-primary to primary level, primary to middle, or middle to secondary and then higher secondary levels.
The documents note that the country’s 173,000 private schools are the largest employees of professional women in private sector.
When contacted, Rana Mashood, Punjab education minister, couldn’t be reached for comments on the issue despite repeated attempts.
Mirza, however, warned if government fails to consider positively, it would have adverse impact on private educational institutions and specifically on students.


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