Private schools increase fees illegally, govt fails to check

KARACHI:22 august: The officials of Sindh Private Educational Institutions Regulation and Control Authority (SPEIRCA) have apparently failed to implement rule of law in private schools since privately owned schools have hiked up tuition fees without prior approval of the concerned authority by this month, Daily Times has learnt.

In the current academic year, a number of complaints have been submitted by parents in the authority's office directorate of private educational institutes, regarding the farmed fees structure. Although, SPEIRCA's rules divulged that private-run educational institutions can't increase tuition fees during the course of an academic year- as well it's a mandatory condition for acquiring registration of private school or educational institute.

In 2016, the Sindh High Court had ordered the education department to implement regulation about fee structure in privately owned educational institution a cross Sindh. In this connection, both Sindh's Education and Literacy Department (ELD) and the concerned authority-SPEIRCA, was not able to take any concrete steps to cope these unconstrained owners of private-run schools.

To avoid SPEIRCA's rules, the administrators of these private schools have formed some strapping associations and have also constituted self-protection laws. In these associations, they're not only patronizing hiked up fee structure but justifying it as well before parents or guardians.

"Parents are much burdened since the authority is not taking up laws and rules, we have submitted complaints after complaints in the authority's directorate but it's been observed that these private-run schools are increasing the fees year after year", said Muhammad Atif, one of the complainants.

"The officials are well-fed of the illicit practice but they didn't make sure to bring the owners of private schools before law", he regretted, added that the authority has the right to revoke registration of those schools which have hiked up its fees structure without approval but it doesn't seem to be taken action against those schools.

Meanwhile, the officials of SPEIRCA have informed that they have constituted a four member committee about the illegal hiked up fees in private-run schools. "The committee will submit its inquiry this week on the issue if anyone is found responsible and guilty for the illegal act we we'll take serous action against him", said Qazi Abduraziq, Head of SPEIRCA's Inspection Team.

On the other hand, the parents whose children are enrolled in private schools are protesting against the management of private schools and concerned authority. "Implementing the relevant law is the first responsibility of the SPEIRCA's officials", stated by All Sindh Parants' Assocation (ASPA) in a press release issued on August 21.

They have demanded the authority to sustain fees structure in private schools and direct the owners not to increase fees without prior approval of the concerned officials. "Increasing tuition fees during academic year, which is a clear violation of court orders and laws", they mentioned.

It is pertinent to mention here that ASPA organized a protest demonstration against the unlawful fee hike by private institutions at Foundation Public School's head office located near Dunkin Donuts Shahrah-e-Faisal on Friday.Published in Daily Times, August 22nd 2017.