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December 4, 2017



KP yet to form authority to regulate private schools

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has set a three months deadline to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to comply with the court’s judgment for establishment of a regulatory authority for private educational institutions.

Despite the court’s decision, the regulatory authority is yet to be formed.

Though a division bench of the PHC had recently passed a detailed judgment and even issued directions for implementing the judgment and submitting it to the court a report within three months, the regulatory authority has not been formed by the provincial government even after the passage of the Regulatory Authority Act.

“The Regulatory Authority is directed to submit its report on the policy as declared in the judgment before the registrar judicial of the high court within three months, positively. In case no report is submitted, the Additional Registrar Judicial of the high court is directed to file a contempt of court [petition] for the implementation of the decision,” said a detailed judgment.

A division bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Ijaz Anwar passed the judgment in the writ petitions filed against increase in fees and extra charges by the private educational institutions in the province.

“The provincial government is yet to establish the regulatory authority. Under the Private Schools Regulatory Authority Act, representatives of parents and schools owners would also be members of the authority. A dispute still persists among the representatives of the school owners over the issue of regulatory authority,” said Abbas Khan Sangeen, one of the lawyers who represented the Peshawar Bar Association in the case.

He noted that the court’s decision was clear and if the provincial government failed in establishing the regulatory authority and implementing the decision, then top officials including chief secretary, secretary Secondary and Elementary Education, Secretary Higher Education and chairmen of Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education would face contempt of court cases in the high court. He said they were made parties to the petitions.

To regulate the affairs and registration of the private educational institutions and put an end to the monopoly of the private sector in determining fee and stop exploitation of teachers, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on May 23 this year passed the law titled “The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Private School Regulatory Authority Act 2017.”

Under the act, the government has to establish a regulatory authority in the province within 180 days after the enforcement of the act.

However, even after the constitutional period ended, the provincial government did not form the regulatory authority.

As per the act, the regulatory authority shall exercise the powers to register and regulate schools, supervision of their curricula, schemes of studies, academic schedules, co-curricular activities and ensuring observance of vacations of summer, winter, spring and other holidays in schools as being observed by schools in public sector.

The regulatory authority was empowered to determine the maximum fee to be charged from a student and minimum remuneration payable to a teacher. The authority would prescribe conditions under which school may be opened and operated and also the minimum qualification and training programmes for teachers of different categories of schools.

“To evaluate academic performance of schools and provide mechanism for rewarding best performing schools. Issues standing orders allowing fee concession on kinship basis not less than 20 percent of the fee and sanction annual increase in fee in excess up to 10 percent to be charged from students,” is how the act explained the tasks assigned to the regulatory authority.