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June 4, 2019

Regulatory authority moves against schools collecting fees for vacations


June 4, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private School Regulatory Authority (PSRA) has started taking action against the educational institutions which are violating Supreme Court orders on summer and winter vacation fees.

The recent action was taken against Bloomfield Hall School, University Town Peshawar. It was sealed for charging the fees for summer vacations and harassing students and their parents. “The school was frequently violating Supreme Court orders and PSRA’s rules and regulation. The authority had received innumerable complaints from parents on the basis of which the action was taken against it,” said PSRA Managing Director Asad Haroon while talking to The News. He said the Bloomfield Hall School had also withheld the results of the students and was forcing them to deposit the fee and only then they would be given the result cards.

The official said if the school management stopped charging the students for the summer vacations and stopped “harassment” of the parents, the PSRA would look into the matter and would decide whether to unseal it or take further action against it. “Anybody or school violating court orders of PSRA’s rules and regulations would be dealt with sternly. No leniency would be made with them irrespective of its strength or influence,” he said. About the summer vacation fees being charged by other private schools, the managing director said that they have already issued a notification barring the schools from collecting the fee for summer and winter vacations. He urged the parents not to pay the fee for the vacations in light with the PSRA’s notification.

The official added that it was also the responsibility of parents to cooperate with the authority and refuse to pay the vacation fee. “If any school forces them to pay the fee, they should lodge a complaint with the authority and strict action would be taken against the school concerned,” he stressed. The notification dated May 30, 2019, reads: “All the private school(s) are strictly directed not to charge summer/winter vacations fee till further order in the larger public interest. Any violation of this circular would lead the school management liable to penalties under KP-PSRA Act 2017 and regulation 2018.” However, almost all the private schools including Peshawar Model Schools, Quad-e-Azam Public Schools and Colleges, Dar-e-Arqam Schools and others have already issued fee vouchers to students for the summer vacation in defiance of the PSRA’s circular. A parent whose kids are enrolled in Peshawar Model Schools told this correspondent that the school charged them for the months of May and June last month and have sent vouchers for July and August now. He urged the authorities concerned to take notice of it.

About the schools sealed, de-registered and de-affiliated on the charges of creating panic and propaganda against polio campaign, Asad Haroon said that those schools had seriously harmed the national cause and they would not be forgiven at all. However, he was not having a clear line of action about the future of those schools and the children studying there. He said those schools had challenged the writ of the state and anyone doing so would be dealt with sternly. The official said that the future of the students of those schools should not be a problem, as there were 25,000 private schools in the province and their parent should better enrol them somewhere else.

Still, he added that the authority has sealed the administration blocks of those schools and not the academic blocks. “If these schools improve their performance and create no more problems, we can revisit the decision. But for now, no leniency is going to be shown to them,” he remarked. The official said the decision had not been taken in any haste or without having a proper inquiry. He said that the chief secretary office had inquired the matter thoroughly and those 10 schools had been found guilty of creating panic and launching propaganda against the polio campaign. He said the inquiry report had specifically recommended a stern action against those schools on the basis of which they were sealed, de-registered and de-affiliated.

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