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January 12, 2019

PA mulls law to control private schools


January 12, 2019

LAHORE: The private school "mafia" is involved in educational terrorism which affects every segment of society and is adversely affecting the public sector education system for which some regulations need to be introduced.

This was stated by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Gulraiz Afzal on the assembly floor in Friday session speaking on a point of order while his stance was strongly endorsed by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basharat Raja saying that some strong authority and regulations were required to nab the private education mafia which was even violating the Supreme Court orders of bringing down monthly fee. ‘I suggest that committee constituted of all parties members from House should be made which will make strong rules and regulations to stop this educational terrorism’, the law minister proposed.

Gulraiz Afzal said that the private school mafia was well-organised and threatening the parents of the children that they would withdraw the school security, double the students strength in classes, reduce the staff due to decrease in fee. He said that the mafia was finding out the ways not to implement the Supreme Court order. ‘Huge private school fees are also a cause of corruption in society. Monthly utility bills of a house are Rs20,000 while children school fees are double Rs40,000 which compel the people to adopt wrong means, even landlords sell their land to pay fee’, he commented.

Dr Hassan Murtaza speaking on the issue said these private school mafia has divided the society in different classes on the basis of fee besides destroying the public sector education system. He said that attempt was made in 2008 by this House for developing a uniform curriculum for all schools in Punjab. ‘There is need to strictly implement the Supreme Court orders to lower down the school fee’, he observed.

MPA Dr Akther Malik terming it survival of public sector school system said that private school mafia in past had managed the efforts of the House to develop uniform syllabus so a committee should be constituted on this issue. All the stakeholders from private sector should be included in it to devise a comprehensive and concrete policy to settle the issue. Adding to Dr Akther Malik suggestion, Gulraiz Afzal suggested that a committee should be constituted with targets to complete the work within specific time period deadline. ‘The committee should be given two months time to make its decision which would be presented in the House and approved’, he said adding that it was issue of everyone while government and opposition should unanimously move towards it.

MPA Sardar Shahab-ud-Din Khan highlighted other issues of education sector, including students of south, were being neglected and deprived due to entrance test system for medical colleges.

MPA Dr Mazhar Iqbal said that only constituting the committee on the issue would not resolve the issue rather a powerful authority should be made to control the private school mafia. He suggested that the government should bring a Bill on it in the assembly which will be approved by both government and opposition members unanimously.

Gulraiz Afzal said that the assembly members were powerless. ‘Those who make decisions are someone else we cannot make decisions’, he commented, remarking that the private school mafia did not reduce the fees on the Supreme Court orders then how they will act on House order until the house makes a law and fix the issue, he added.

Wrapping up the discussion, law and parliamentary affairs minister Basharat Raja suggested that a day would be fixed during the ongoing session of provincial assembly for general discussion on the issue. This will bring all the issues in the House and pave way in better policy making, he added.

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