Private schools defy govt directive: Unlawful fees, charges

Karachi, March 31, 2008: Flouting all rules and regulations, a large number of private schools are fleecing parents by charging fees under different heads such as annual charges, examination fee and annual festival or sports day charges.

Apart from this, most of the private schools in the city are also extorting much higher admission fee that the approved one month's tuition fee despite the fact that the schools' registration rules permit them to charge an admission fee equivalent to a month's tuition fee.

Senior officials in the directorate of private schools said that keeping in view the situation, a number of private schools had been issued notices asking them to desist from demanding the unlawful 'annual charges' and admission fee higher than their existing one month's tuition fee, otherwise they would be putting their schools' registrations at stake.

They also requested parents to bring such irregularities in the notice of the directorate in writing so that notices could be issued to such schools for initiating action against them for violating schools' registration rules.

When told that some parents might not be willing to lodge their written complaints about the irregularities being committed by the private schools of their wards to avoid any possible reaction from the management of such schools, the officials said that in such a case the directorate would ensure the parents that their identities would not be disclosed. However, parents while submitting their written complaints about the irregularities would be required to deposit the copies of the circulars or notices whereby unauthorised charges were being demanded by the schools, they added.

Vacation fee
Another problem being faced by parents is the lump sump payment of summer vacation's tuition fees (June and July), which the private schools are currently charging from their students along with the tuition fee of March and May as it proves to be an additional burden on the pockets of people already perturbed by the sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities.

When the attention of the authorities was drawn to this issue, they said that schools could charge the tuition fee for these months as they would have to pay the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff.

However, they said that to facilitate people, private schools could allow them to pay tuition fees pertaining to the months of June and July in the same months as offices of most of the schools remained open during the summer vacations.

Exempted
They also informed that all those students appearing in their Class-X annual examination were exempted from paying summer vacation's two months fee, besides all those students who were willing to change their schools from the next academic session could not be charged summer vacation's tuition fee provided their parents informed the school concerned in writing about their wards' plan of switching over to some other school. Dawn

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