Private schools not budging on fee increase despite SC ruling, parents claim


–Protesters urge Punjab govt to implement SC orders requiring private schools to revert to 2017 fees


LAHORE: Parents of private school children gathered at Liberty roundabout on Saturday to protest against the continuous violation of court orders being committed by upscale private schools.

Different parents associations, including Parents Action Committee (PAC), Pakistan Education Movement (PEM), Private Schools Parents Association (PSPA) and members of the civil society participated in the protest.

Many of the protesters complained that schools had failed to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict which directed all private schools “to freeze the uncontrolled fee increase to 2017 levels and linked any increase to the approval of the regulatory authority.”

Addressing the demonstration, General Secretary of the Parent Action Committee Sajeel Usmani called on the Punjab government to implement the SC orders without delay. He added that the inability of the government of the country’s largest province to implement the ruling of the apex court disproved the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s claims of being the harbinger of tabdeeli.

President PLPA Atifur Rehman said that the illegal fee increase had made education unaffordable to a large section of the population. He accused private schools of forming a mafia which did not abide by the law.

A representative of the Pakistan Education Movement, Yasir Qureshi, held private schools and the Punjab government responsible for the deteriorating quality of education in the province. He expressed doubts over the reconstitution of the district regulatory authority (DRA) and said he was skeptical of the government’s efforts.

Parents taking part in the demonstration expressed their frustration over the government’s inability to bring the private schools to abide by the SC verdict. Many felt that the situation had not changed despite their protestations.

On September 13, a three-member SC bench headed by Cheif Justice Asif Saeed Khosa declared that the school fee prevailing in 2017 as the base fee. The 65-page verdict also forbade schools to recover under any circumstances the amounts that were reduced in accordance with the SC’s December 13, 2018 ruling.