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May 17, 2018

Private schools start implementing fee concessions


May 17, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Private Schools Regulatory Authority (PSRA) recently froze the accounts of 22 leading and influential private schools, forcing them and other reluctant institutions to comply with the court orders and the authority’s instructions about the ever-rising fees and other charges.

“The private schools, which were earlier reluctant to implement the court orders and were not obeying the instructions of the recently formed regulatory authority, have now agreed to collect only half of the tuition fees during the summer vacation, besides giving concessions to siblings and implement other instructions of the authority,” a senior official of PSRA to The News.

The authority in light of the orders of Peshawar High Court had directed all the private schools in the province to stop collecting full fees and other charges from the students during vacations that are longer than a month in a row.

The schools were asked to charge only half of the tuition fee and no other charges during the vacations.

The schools were also required to provide 50 percent concession to siblings - second and third brother or sister. Besides, no advance fee for two or more months could be collected from the students, no charges - promotion - fee was to be taken from students other than the one-time admission and not more than 3 percent increase could be made in the fee on annual basis.

The private schools were, however, reluctant to obey the orders. These schools even went on a two-day strike last month to put pressure on the government to withdraw the PSRA directives. But the PSRA officials said they were determined to implement the orders.

The official said that they had started visiting the schools that were reluctant to implement the orders.

After the freezing of their accounts, the schools concerned started approaching the PSRA. “Once they implement the circular issued by the authority in light of the court orders, we would ask the State Bank to reopen their accounts,” the official informed.

He said if any school was reluctant to give concessions in fee in accordance with the authority’s directives, the parents should lodge a complaint with the PSRA and necessary action would be taken against the institution concerned.

The authority has also announced the summer vacations schedule for the private schools to overcome the confusion among students and parents.

According to a notification issued by the PSRA, all the private Montessori, Kindergarten and primary schools sited in the plains would close down for summer vacation from June 1 and reopen on August 25, 2018. All the private middle, high and higher secondary schools would close for summer vacation from June 1 till August 5, 2018. In the snowy areas the summer vacations would start from July 1 to July 31, 2018, the notification said.

The separate schedule for the private schools was issued due to the fact that most of the private institutions had planned their examinations in the last days of May. By next year, the same schedule of the vacations would be given for government and private schools, the official said. He added that the private schools were bound to follow all the announcements of the government regarding vacations.

About the mandate and functions of the PSRA, the official informed that it had the mandate to take over the institutions that are reluctant to implements the directives and policies of the government.

The authority has constituted two committees to regulate the functioning of the private schools. The Norms and Standards Committee has already finalized its recommendations after thorough deliberation, while the second committee is about fee regulations. It has representation from all the stakeholders. It would hold its second meeting today (Thursday). The committee would fix upper and lower threshold for fees and hopefully it would reach some decision in the meeting today, he said.

The PSRA has also started compiling complete data of the private schools. The schools would be divided in four categories. The authority would also form a committee to recommend and implement a uniform curriculum for all the private schools.

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