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February 16, 2015

Representatives insist private schools over-regulated


February 16, 2015

Private schools of the capital city have complained that their regulator, Peira, is over-regulating them instead of being a facilitator and that the existing regulatory system is inconveniencing not only them but students and their parents as well.
The complaint was made by the representatives of privately-owned educational institutions to new Peira Chairman Omar Hameed during a meeting at the latter’s office.
Among visitors were Zofran Elahi of Private Schools Association Islamabad, Malik Abrar Hussain of All Pakistan Private Schools and College Association, Dr. Raja Ifrahim Satti of APSAA Alliance, Chaudhry Muhammad Ubaidullah of Association of Private Schools, Naseer Janjua of Private Schools Management Association and Dr Afzal Babur of Private Schools Network.
The meeting took place at the request of visitors. The visitors took up with the PEIRA chairman the issues facing the city’s private schools like issuance of short-term provisional registration certificate; unnecessary documentary requirements pertaining to registration under Societies Act and EOBI; the charging of additional fee with retrospective effect; multiple signatories of registration certificate issued by the Peira; regime of exaggerated fines; lack of transparency and predictability in regulatory regime; unnecessary regulations and charges with respect to the inner city and out of city migration of students studying in private schools; undue fresh registration charges in case of the relocation of the already registered schools; school inspections by unauthorised officials engaged by the Peira; and the tempering with of the private school record by the Peira.
They wanted the Peira to revisit and rationalise its regulatory mechanism saying the current ‘one size fits all’ approach towards private schools has failed.
The visitors insisted that the Peira regulated and rather overregulated only the schools charging low fee while sparing high-end educational

They urged the Peira chairman to ensure the immediate end to the inspections of the already registered schools as well as the revisiting of the regulatory mechanism to encourage the opening of more schools.
The visitors said their organisations would offer all possible support and cooperation to the new Peira chairman for making the regulatory mechanism more transparent and rational.
The Peira chairman appreciated the contribution of private schools in filling the gaps by provision of education to geographic areas and to those segments which the government had not been able to cater.
He said the authority’s role was both facilitation and regulation to ensure adequate transparency and proper discipline to enable private schools to impart quality education.
“As the Peira chief, it is his duty to enforce the Peira Act and ensure that the Peira regulatory system doesn’t overstep its statutory mandate and that he will fulfil it,” he said.
Omar Hameed said the Peira would address the reservations of private schools and other stakeholders about its regulatory system.
He also said the authority’s rules of business would be revisited in consultation with private schools and other stakeholders first to bring them in line with the Peira Act and second to remove unnecessary regulations.

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