PHC warns private schools against further closure
PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday took exception to the two-day strike of private schools acrossthe province andasked their regulator, PSRA, to take over their management and freeze their bank accounts in case of strikes in future.
Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan gave the regulatory authority a month to implement the court`s judgment on regulating the affairs of the private educational institutions, including fee structure.
The bench directed PSRA managing director Syed Zafar Ali Shah to seek the help of the provincial government and police and district administrations for the purpose.
It observed that it would also direct the government and administrations to assist the authority whenever itneeded help to act against a private institution.
The bench was hearing a joint implementation petition filed by the Peshawar District Bar Association, lawyers Farman All and Zulfiqar Khalil, and others, seeking its orders for the authorities to implement its Nov 8, 2017, judgement.
The court had accepted three petitions against the private educational institutions, provincial government and regulatory authority on multiple grounds.
Abbas Khan Sangeen, lawyer for the petitioners, said the court had directed the respondents including the provincial education secretary do the needful on regulating private schools within three months and in case no report was submitted, the court`s additional registrar (judicial) would file a contempt petition for the implementation of the order.
He said the court had directed the regulator to formulate a uniform pol-icy regarding fee structure i n c lu d i n g annual and tuition fee and charging extra than that shall be banned completely.
The lawyer said the court had also ordered that the institutions shall n o t c h a r g e more than half of the tuitionfee from the second and third children of the same parents.
He said the court had ruled as illegal the charging of transport fee from students during summer vacations.
Similarly, the bench had also declared that the private schools should charge a maximum of 50 percent of the tuition fee during vacations of more than 30 days.
The lawyer said the court had ruled that the annual increase as made was totally unjustified and the annual increase under no circumstances should be more than 3 percent per annum.
Abbas Sangeen contended that in its detailed judgment the bench had issued several directions and guidelines to the government and regulatory authority for formulating a policy to regulate the existing and new schools.
He said in sheer disregard to the judgment, the private schools had presently been observing a two-day stril(e against the judgment and the decisions made by the authority in light of that judgment.
The lawyer said contrary to the court`s orders, the managements of several private schools had made increase in fee by over 10 percent instead of permissible three percent.
PSRA MD Zafar Ali Shah stated that they had been implementing the said judgment and in this regard they had also given advertisements in different newspapers directing the private schools to follow the said order.
He added that the authority had also issued circular to these schools highlighting the important points of the judgment to them.