CCP starts probe into private schools’ fee increases

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The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has initiated a probe into possible anti-competitive behaviour behind the sharp increase in fees being charged by private schools in the country. The probe has been initiated after concerns were raised by the general public, especially parents, that private schools increase the school fees exorbitantly every year without any justification, particularly without any corresponding increase in quality of education.

It stated in the press release that in the first phase of the investigation, crucial information regarding entities involved in the schooling business is being gathered.

Information pertaining to school fee increase in the last three years has been called from various private schools, and it is expected that the CCP will soon have all the relevant information and data required to take strict action as per the Competition Act, 2010 (the ‘Act’). Through the investigation, the CCP will determine whether the fee raise in private schools all over the country is a result of anti-competitive practices such as cartelization or abuse of dominance, or otherwise.

It is pertinent to mention here that Section 3 of the Act that deals with abuse of dominance prohibits unreasonable increase in prices by dominant market players, while Section 4 of the Act that pertains to prohibited agreements bars collective fixing of prices by competitors. Once the process is completed, the CCP may impose substantial penalties on any undertaking involved in anti-competitive behaviour in accordance with provisions of the Act.

 

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