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KP legislates to create watchdog for private schools

By Mohammad Ashfaq 2017-05-24
PESHAWAR: In a long-awaited move, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday legislated for the establishment of an regulator for private schools in the province.

The proposed law, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Schools Regulatory Authority Act, 2017, was tabled by elementary and secondary education minister Mohammad Atif Khan.

The house passed the bill after Speaker Asad Qaisar, who was in the chair, put it to vote.

The previous ANP-led government had tried to establish the regulatory authority but the bid failed due to the intense pressure of private schools.Under the passed bill, private schools will be bound to award concession of not less than 25 per cent of the total fee to their students on kinship basis.

They will also not be able to increase fee more than 10 per cent in an academic year.

The law empowers the government to establish the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Schools Regulatory Authority soon after its enforcement but not later than six months.

The law empowers the authority to register and regulate private schools, supervise their curriculum, scheme of studies, academic schedules and co-curricular activities, and observe summer, winter, spring and other vacations in private schools as being marked by schools in public sector.

It is the responsibility of the regulatory authority to formulate policy, guiding principles and criteria for the establishment and registration of private school for supplementing public sector investment in education.

Under the law, it will devise and implement criteria for categorisation of a schoolto ensure minimum standard of education and facilities in each category.

Based on categorisation, the regulatory authority will determine the maximum fee to be charged from a student, and the minimum remuneration payable to a teacher.

The regulatory authority would prescribe the minimum qualifications and training programmes for teachers of different categories of schools and monitors their implementation. It would also evaluate academic performance of private schools and provide mechanism for rewarding best performing schools.

Under the law, the authority will establish district scrutiny committee from time to time in consultation with the provincial government.

Section 10 of the law says `The authority may constitute such academic, administrative, unancial, technical and special committees as may be deemed necessary for carrying out the purpose of this act and such committee shall exercise such powers and perform such functions as may be delegated or assigned to them by the regulatory authority.The E&SE minister will be the chairperson of the regulatory authority. Among its members will be the secretaries of the E&SE, establishment and administration and finance departments, E&SE director, four representatives of private schools and three of parents, and two educationists from government sector to be nominated by government for a period of three years on rotation basis.

In addition to annual meeting, the regulatory authority will meet once a quarter on such day, time and place as the chairperson may determine or on the request of half of the members of the authority.

The government will post a BPS-19 officer as the managing director of the authority.

The assembly also passed four other laws in the house, including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minerals Sector Governance (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The chair later prorogued the session.