Private schools in KP reject govt’s decision to close educational institutes | Pakistan Today

Private schools in KP reject govt’s decision to close educational institutes

PESHAWAR: Private schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have rejected the federal government’s decision to close educational institutions across the country from November 26 to January 10 because of the sharp increase in coronavirus cases.
Anas Takreem, the general secretary of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private School Network Association, told Pakistan Today that the federal government’s decision is not aimed at preventing coronavirus, but “they made a political issue out of it”.
He pointed out that over 2.6 million children are deprived of education in the province, and the government’s decision will contribute to increasing this number. He claimed that educational institutions were implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs) against coronavirus, but the government is still instating upon closing schools to contain the second wave of the pandemic.
Talking about the previous closure of schools for six months, he said that it badly affected the education of children and hurt the business of school owners, who could not pay the rents of school buildings, salaries of staff, taxes, and other expensive, which brought them on the verge of permanent closure.
According to Takreem, before the last lockdown, there were 8,600 schools registered with the authority in the province, and now the membership has reduced by 4,000 as these schools have not renewed their membership.
He said that the provincial government collects 15 taxes from private schools in various categories, and during the last lockdown, no compensation was given to them, but rather they were fined over alleged violations of coronavirus SOPs. He added that the government levied property taxes from private schools at commercial rates per square foot along with social security, EOBI, endowment funds, professional taxes and registration fee ranging between Rs4,000 to Rs25,000 annually.
The general secretary highlighted that currently, 2.4 million children are enrolled in various private schools and 124,000 teachers are employed to teach them. In view of this, he added, the government should reconsider its decision to close schools, otherwise all educational institutes across the country will be forced to protest.
Moreover, the National Education Council of Pakistan has also rejected the federal government’s decision and has threatened a protest if the decision is not rolled back.

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