Punjab Private Educational Institutions watchdog
Proposed watchdog on private schools bothers owners
Lahore, Aug 20: Concerns of the private sector are increasing as the Punjab
government is rapidly moving towards establishment of a proposed Punjab Private
Educational Institution Promotional and Regulatory Authority, a body to oversee
working of private schools in the province.
Recommendations in this
regard have recently been sent to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who had
formed a special committee to deliberate and present solid recommendations so
that affairs of private sector institutions, especially schools, could be
The setting up of an independent regulatory body for
private sector educational institutions has been a major demand of the
stakeholders who argue that the existing Punjab Private Educational Institutions
(Promotion and Regulation) Ordinance, 1984 is not "enough" to handle affairs of
Academic circles believe that one of the major issues is
related to fee charged by private schools about which the said ordinance is
silent. They argue that the government is unable to cap fee of private schools
while evaluation and monitoring are the other important issues related to
private sector involved in education.
They further argue that collection
of funds under different heads by private schools, mandatory purchase of
stationery items and uniform and books etc from prescribed stores are the other
concerns of the stakeholders.
One of the members of the committee,
constituted by the chief minister, when approached said that there was a dire
need of the regulatory body. He said that there was no other option because
neither the school department nor could a single minister watch over such a big
Talking about recommendations sent to the CM, he said the body
would be keeping an eye on the faculty and the facilities provided against the
fee charged by the private sector. However, there would be no fixed fee
structure designed for all schools, he said. He said there should be one window
in this regard in which no separate charges would be taken from the parents
other than the tuition fee.
He said the proposed body would register and
affiliate the schools with examination boards for different exams and train the
teachers of private schools.
To a question, the member said the
government would also facilitate the private sector by waiving different taxes,
adding these schools would be categorized in different groups according to the
Talking further about formation of the body, he said it
would comprise eight members from the private sector for three years, claiming
that the chairman would also be elected from amongst these members.
Academic circlers also believe that the Punjab Schools Department alone
cannot monitor the private schools as it is already overloaded with almost
63,000 government schools in the province. With hundreds of thousands of
students and around 0.35 million teachers, the Punjab Schools Department is one
of the largest public organizations of the country.
It is important to
mention that the previous Punjab government had also claimed to have established
a regulatory authority for private sector educational institutions but it failed
to do so. Last year, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had formed a committee to
review the 1984 Ordinance and suggest and recommend ways to set up a regulatory
It is generally believed that most of the private schools are now
built in the name of business where they charge hefty amount apart from the
tuition fee. However, neither they provide sufficient salaries to their teachers
nor facilities which could match the fee. It is, therefore, argued that there is
a dire need to check the working of the private schools.
son is a 9th grader, told this scribe she was not satisfied with the quality of
education his son was getting in a private school.
Rs2,500 per month we send our son to an academy", she said, adding "These days
almost every private school is busy expanding its branches at the cost of
Sameera, a mother of a 15-year-old daughter, said the element
of grooming was missing in her daughter's education. She said because of the
burden of an extremely difficult syllabus her daughter found no time for
recreation and thus lacked in terms of confidence.
Arshad, a banker with
a moderate salary, complained that he had to bear a lot of expenses other than
his son's tuition fee.
Tabina, a student who got a scholarship in
A-levels, said that everyone could not afford quality education nowadays. Either
you are an outstanding student or you are financially strong to study at a good
institution, she said. Representatives of private schools associations, however,
expressed concern over the proposed regulatory authority. "If the regulatory
body fails to take us into confidence, we will protest and raise our voice
Adeeb Jawadani, President of the All Pakistan Private
Schools Management Association, said only two percent of the private schools
were charging extraordinarily, adding only those who could afford send their
children to these schools. "The rest are charging affordable fees", he claimed.
He said various kinds of taxes were being imposed on private schools by the
government which ignored the fact these were sharing its load as far as
promotion of education was concerned.
Interestingly, the total number of
private schools stills remains a mystery as the figures claim by government and
private organizations do not match.
According to Lahore's EDO Education
Dr Arshad, the total number of private schools, including unregistered, is
around 6,000 in Lahore alone. On contrary, the association claims 18,000 private
schools exist in Lahore while another association official says the number is
Academic circles and stakeholders also believe that the
establishment of the proposed regulatory authority would not only provide relief
to the people but it would also help resolve the mystery about total number of
private educational institutions.
-AISHA ABDUL RAHMAN
is an intern and studies in the Punjab University). The news
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Class-based education is mother of all ills
Lahore: Former federal finance minister Sartaj Aziz has called upon the
public and private sectors to make joint efforts to expand and improve country's
He was speaking at an annual dinner of the Trust for
Education and Development of Deserving Students (TEDDS) held here. The subject
of the discussion was "Beginning of a new Pakistan through Education."
Mr Aziz said that over a dozen education commissions and high-level
committees had studied the educational system since the inception of Pakistan
and they had submitted their recommendations after thoroughly examining the
system but these were never implemented and shelved in government archives.
He said the present system had three types of schools; the English
medium, Urdu medium and madressah. The English medium schools mostly catered to
the rich and the upper class of society whose children were later sent abroad
for higher education and most of them never returned to Pakistan.
said the Urdu medium schools, which included government schools, were for the
children of lower classes of society and their standard of education, teachers
and administration was far from satisfactory.
While the madressah
schools, which mostly imparted religious education to the children of the poor,
were poles apart from the previous two categories as they had a different
mindset and world view, he said.
The former minister said that all the
three categories were based on the class system and rich-poor divide, which was
dangerous for country's future.
He said that it was a great challenge to
have a uniform system of education in the country, adding that the syllabi of
the three categories of schools should be revised and improved.
LUMS vice-chancellor Syed Zahurul Hasan said that education was considered the
main source of an individual's social and financial development in other
countries while in Pakistan it was other way round.
He said the access
to education should be the main aim of one's development and progress in life.
Mr Hassan said that all out efforts should be made by the government and
the private sector to expand the education and improve its quality and standard.
Special efforts, he said, should be made to produce best teachers
because they alone could provide quality education to students.
that well-to-do families should undertake to bear expenses of at least one
student up to the higher secondary level like the TEDDS.
Mujibur Rahman Shami said the present education based on class system portended
very dangerous future and if this gulf between the rich and the poor was not
eliminated it would be disastrous for the country.
"The islands built by
the rich in the form of their separate colonies, educational institutions and
even graveyards would be swept away by the sea of the poor around them," he
TEDDS secretary-general Tahir Yousuf explained the progress made
by the schools it had set up in Lahore during the past 14 years.
the main purpose of the trust school was to provide quality education to the
deserving students of the less privileged class by persuading the rich to
contribute voluntarily to their education.
Mr Yousuf said half of the
children of school-going age number about 20 million now had no schools to go
and those had schools lacked the quality education.
The result was
increasing menace of unemployment, child labour, use of drugs, violence and the
gun culture. If this trend of denying the education to the children continued it
would prove disastrous, he said.
Students obtaining high marks in the
matriculation examination this year were awarded merit certificates and special
prizes by Sartaj Aziz and other distinguished guests.
Fahad Umar, who
stood first in TEDDS schools in matric examination securing 1002 out of 1050
marks, was given a special prize of Rs100,000. Dawn
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GCU produces PhD scholar
Lahore: Dr. Shazia Khurshid Lecturer Department of Chemistry
Government College University Lahore has been awarded the Doctor of Philosophy
in the subject of Chemistry. Her topic was "Microbial Production of Glucose
Oxidase and its Commercial Applications". She completed her research under the
supervision of Dr. Muhammad Akram Kashmiri Chairman, Board of Intermediate and
Secondary Education, Lahore. F.P. Report
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