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November 21, 2019

Rethinking 'private' education

Newspost

 
November 21, 2019

The constitution of Pakistan has made it mandatory for the government to provide free education to all citizens who cannot afford to go to school otherwise. However, this clause has never been enforced in letter or spirit, allowing the private sector to take advantage of the growing gap between private and public schools. Operating a school has become one of the most profitable businesses in the country, Many of these 'private schools' are operating in apartments or in small spaces in people’s personal homes, and are devoid of basic facilities. They then charge between Rs15,000 and Rs25,000 per month, but despite charging an arm and a leg, they deprive students of drinking water, which kids then have to buy from the school canteen at a price higher than the market.

Unfortunately, such incidents are not restricted to Karachi but are spread across all major cities in Pakistan, including Lahore and Islamabad. This national crisis prompted parents to knock on the door of the court of law for justice. After protests did not bear desired fruit, petitions were filed in courts. Additionally, many schools these days require parents to submit the fee for an entire quarter (three to four months) together. This, alongside the price hikes, makes life extremely difficult for parents. I hope the government can work to improve public schools so parents are not left without options when it comes to providing quality education to their kids. But most importantly, I hope private schools stop treating parents as clients and start thinking of them as partners or facilitators, as both share the same end goal: educating a young mind and shaping him or her for a bright future.

Uzair Jafri

Karachi

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