Annual fee charged by private schools declared illegal
PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday declared illegal the promotion fee charged by private schools and colleges in the province.[TOP]
The development came as Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Ijaz Anwar Khan announced a short order on the two petitions against private educationalinstitutions over annual/ promotion fee, frequent increase in tuition fee and charging of transport fee during summer vacation.
Peshawar District Bar Association through its president, Fazal Wahid, and lawyers Abbas Khan Sangeen andZulfiqar Khalil had filed two petitions seeking the court`s several directives for the provincial government and private educationalinstitutions.
A penal of lawyers, including Abbas Sangeen, Zulfiqar Khalil, Zahidullah Zahid, Fazal Shah and Shakeel Aman Yousafzai, appeared for petitioners and contended that the private educational institutions had been minting money from students on one pretext or another.
Abbas Sangeen said educationalinstitutions in the province had been charging promotion fee or annual fee from students when they were promoted to the next grade.
He wondered when students deposited admission fee at the time of admission, how they could be charged promotion fee.
The lawyer said educational institutions had also been increasing tuition fee on their own and that they also charged students transport fee even dur-ing summer vacation when they didn`t avail themselves of the tr ansport f acility.
He complained that private schools had been charging security fee ranging from Rs300 to Rs600 since the Dec 2014 Army Public School carnage though making security arrangement on campus was their own responsibility.
The lawyer said under Article 25-A of the Constitution, it was the responsibility of the provincial government to provide education to children but here the government had not been fulfilling that responsibility as students had to purchase books and uniform.
He said private schools had engaged different companies for the provision of books and uniform and ironically, the students were bound to purchase them.
The petitioners also claimed that as several lawmakers had been running private educational institutions, the govern-ment bodies were not taking action against private schools.
They added that private educational institutions didn`t follow the Minimum Wages Act as for the payments to teachers.
The petitioners said recently, a law was enforced to regulate private schools and that a regulatory authority for the schools was to be set up under that law.
They requested the court to order the early establishment of that regulatory authority for looking into the excesses committed by private educational institutions.
The lawyer for private educational institutions contended that his clients had strictly been following the law in their affairs.
He insisted that there was no excessive increase in tuition fee by any of his clients.
The lawyer added that the government had already passed a law to include all matters related to private educational institutions.