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Islamabad

March 21, 2017

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It's not all fair at private schools

It's not all fair at private schools

The mushrooming of private schools across Rawalpindi over past years raises serious questions about the quality and running of this growing sector. The government gives no direction regarding quality of education, tuition fees and teachers recruitment.

"Taking advantage of the lack of any monitoring system, some private schools across the city are doing a vigorous trade in the name of providing so-called standard education," says Anam Zaidi, an educationist living in Fazal Town.

"Education has become an item of trade in these schools, which is being sold at a much higher rate compared to government schools. What is more, parents and guardians are normally being deceived as a lot of these institutions fail to live up to the plentiful but often quite fabricated narratives found in their prospectuses," adds Anam.

"Desiring to give their children a good head start in education, parents and guardians are nonetheless more and more applying to these private establishments to avoid the hassle of admission tests and the scarcity of seats in government schools," says Mohib Hussain, a government school teacher.

The tuition fees of these schools range from Rs3,00 to Rs10,000 for the same class or age-group. Rates also significantly vary from area to area," adds Mohib.

"My kid is a student of class two. I have to pay Rs4,000 tuition fee every month," says Haider Rizvi whose kid is studying at a private school in Gulzar-e-Quaid.

Hussain Ali, a father of five students at a private school in one of the sectors of Airport Housing Society says: "I pay Rs3,500 per month for a class two student."

"Tuition fees vary from school to school even within a small area. To my knowledge there are at least five private schools in our locality each charging different tuition fees for the same class," adds Hassain, whose number of sons and daughters' monthly fees have become a financial burden on him.

"Some schools are accused of forcing students to buy school uniforms, textbooks and stationery at increased prices for further profits. With no direct government policy to check such private schools are free to do what they wish with no protest," says Hasan Reza from Gulzar-e-Quaid.

"Many schools have no legal registration because they think it is not mandatory to be registered by the government," says an owner of a private school who did not want to be named, but he quickly adds: Registration or no registration has nothing to do with the quality of education imparted. Several unregistered private schools are providing quality education and many registered ones are giving very low quality of education."

Asghar Ali, a government official living in Fazal Town says: "Yes it is also a common complaint that many registered private schools owners are running their academic activities with substandard or totally unqualified teachers as there are no guidelines from the government for appointing teachers."

"My daughter is a student of class four. I had to change her school twice because the cost of education at many registered schools just does not match with its quality," says Duayay Zainab of Tajabad.

"A principal of a private school in Faisal Town says that there are many private schools where teachers are appointed on merit through an impartial written test. But there are schools where they don't ensure quality of teachers. They run the school on a purely commercial basis. Exception is always there," he adds.

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