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Private school told to refund excess fee

Karachi, June 18, 2008: A three-member team comprising officials of the private schools directorate, formed by Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq to check irregularities allegedly being committed in private schools, has issued a notice to the administration of Mama Parsi Girls School, asking it to get its second shift registered with the directorate and refund the excess amount that has been allegedly charged from students under the head of admission fee within seven days.

A senior official of the education department said that the team during a surprise visit to the school found that its administration had not got its second shift registered.

Under the Privately Managed Educational Institutions Regulations (Amended) Act-2000, it is mandatory upon all private schools to get their each shift and every chapter registered separately with the directorate of private schools/institutions, otherwise, an unregistered school is simply considered as a coaching centre.

Another irregularity noted by the minister's team, the official said, was that the school was charging Rs20,000 under the head of admission fee from each student, whereas the maximum admission fee a private school could charge must be equivalent to a sum of three-month tuition fee of its highest grade. He said the school had not even got its fee structure approved from the directorate of private schools.

The official said that the team had not only asked the school's administration to get its second shift registered and fee structure approved from the provincial directorate of private schools but also directed it to refund the access amount that had been collected from students under the head of admission fee.A detailed report containing irregularities detected at the school had been submitted to the education minister and secretary for their perusal, the official added.

Education budget
The Sindh government, meanwhile, allocated Rs19.5 billion for the education sector in its budget for the financial year 2008-09.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who presented the budget in the assembly session on Monday, said that the provincial share in the outgoing financial year's overall allocation of Rs47.9 billion for the education sector was Rs17 billion. It was increased by over 16 per cent to Rs19.5 billion, he said.

He said this financial year's allocation for the overall education budget also included Rs5.9 billion for the reforms supported by the World Bank and the European Commission.

Under the reforms programme, he said, free textbooks would be provided to over five million school children. Besides, Rs609 million was earmarked for scholarships for girl students; Rs2.7 billion for school rehabilitation and Rs500 million for supporting low-cost private schools.

He described education as the only weapon with which poverty could be fought and said the provincial government gave priority to the education sector as it could prove instrumental in bringing about a social change.

Moreover, two engineering colleges, one for arts and design and another of business administration would be set up in different cities, he said, adding that Rs240 million was earmarked to rehabilitate colleges.

About the education city project in Karachi, he said it was examined after which it was decided that a dedicated education city authority would be established to carry out development works for facilitating an enclave of educational institutions of high standards.

Such a place was expected to house many institutions of higher learning, besides triggering greater economic activities and creating jobs.

Other projects to be undertaken in each district include introduction of computer education in middle schools, provision of additional class rooms in existing primary schools, construction of two-room buildings in existing primary schools, upgrading primary and secondary schools, promotion of compulsory education, construction of labs and libraries in the existing secondary and higher secondary schools, restoration of historical buildings of educational institutes, introduction of post-graduate courses in the existing degree colleges, rehabilitation of the existing degree colleges, construction and improvement of hostels, renovation of dinning halls and other facilities at cadet colleges. Dawn
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