No rules to regulate private educational institutions even after three decades
According to a general review of the situation, Private educational institutions in the district are being run without rules and regulations whereas 75 per cent of these have been registered by the local education department under Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotions & Regulations) Ordinance 1984.
Despite a lapse of thirty years, the Punjab Education Department could not frame the required rules and regulations under the 1984 Ordinance, thus giving a free hand to private educational institutions to extort high amounts from parents on the pretext of tuition and examination fees etc.
According to details, an ordinance for promotion and regulation of private education sector was promulgated back in 1984 with a clause to immediately formulate rules and regulations to keep the ball rolling on the basis of check and balance.
In this situation, the private educational institutions seem to have been given free hand to operate and allure parents for minting hefty amount in the name of so-called modern and quality education without any accountability.
It is learnt that there are no rules to monitor the curricula being taught to the students of private schools and the provincial education department cannot govern their fee structure which ultimately creating classes of students.
The district authority of education department, when contacted to seek comments regarding the situation, they maintained that they are helpless to monitor or keep a check on private schools and colleges which are not made answerable to any authority for their wrongdoings due to the non-existence of bye-laws to regulate the private educational institutions system.
The data referred by the education department revealed that 53 % of the students are made to seek admissions in private schools due to inability of government schools to accommodate the students.
They take refuge under this argument and say we are turning deaf ear to major complaints by parents against private educational institutions as the government cannot afford to provide education to the youth or young children.
Executive District Officer (EDO) Education Rawalpindi Qazi Zahoor-ul-Haq told APP that over 3000 educational institutions are registered with them of which 85 % are being run in privately rented buildings and most of them lack basic facilities like playgrounds, lavatory, science laboratories, drinking water as well as physical training areas.
Qazi was not reluctant to admit the fact that most of the administrations of privately owned educational institutions gravely violate the norms set for providing quality and standard education to the enrolled students.
The EDO was of the view that the local education department lacks the required resources and appropriate mechanism to evaluate performance of public sector institutions effectively, where around 370,000 students study annually, adding “It is quite difficult to streamline or keep vigil on the matters of private schools.”
In most of private educational institutions except for a few leading chains of educational institutions, no qualification standard of teaching staff is maintained therefore they are paid meager amounts as salary.
On this pathetic situation, a parent of student studying in a private institution said that how an under qualified or unqualified teacher can impart quality education to students in his/her class?
Besides, he said, there is a general perception that students are not provided friendly atmosphere as unqualified teachers terrify students to hide his/her professional deficiencies whereby incapacitating the capabilities of a young student.
Contrary to revelation of the EDO about rules and regulations, a spokesman of Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (RBISE) claimed to have a proper inspection mechanism of schools affiliated with it.
“We do monitor the educational performance of an affiliated school and at the time of offering affiliation a team comprising senior officials of the board visits the institution,” said spokesman of RBISE.
The board, he said, regularly visits the affiliated schools to adjudge their performance and facilities being provided to students, but there is no such case of canceling any school’s affiliation, which speaks about inspection standards set for the purpose.
President Private Schools Association Rawalpindi-chapter Mr. Abrar Ahmed when asked to comment on the situation said that the opening of an educational institution in private sector is not a big deal as there is no regulatory body exists which could keep check on the mushroom growth of this business. He alleged that the Education Department charges inspection fee of Rs 1000 from each private institution but no such activity is carried out ever by the concerned authorities.
Seeing the plight and situation of privately owned educational institutions especially at Primary and Higher secondary level, it has become imperative that the Punjab Education Department should give proper attention instead of continuing with the prevalent system to streamline matters for the future generation, especially in the aftermath of implementing the 18th Constitutional amendment. Under this clause all powers in the education sector have been transferred to the provinces and turning a blind eye to the deteriorating situation will further aggravate the plight of the education sector.