Private schools have started charging illegal fees
Karachi, March 14: A number of private schools in the city have once again started charging the so-called "annual charges" and are threatening the parents to pay it in a given period of time, otherwise, their children would either not be allowed to take the annual examinations or their exam results would be withheld.
Similarly, the Class IX and Class X students of private schools have also been asked to submit the annual charges by March 20 and if they failed to do so they would not be issued with admit cards of their ensuing annual examinations scheduled to begin on March 24.
Although the private schools' illegal trend of demanding the so-called annual charges from their students had been going on since long, it was stopped in September last year.
On September 16, the Sindh education department's directorate of private educational institutions issued a circular, warning the managements of private schools not to charge any other fee under any other head, including annual charges and recreation fee etc, except the tuition fee approved by the directorate.
In addition to the monthly tuition fee, private schools were also allowed to charge the admission fee to the extent of three times of one the monthly tuition fee at the most.
However, most of the parents said that although the Sindh chief secretary and the provincial education department's directorate of private educational institutions had recently described the so-called annual charges as "illegal", the managements of private schools were compelling them to deposit the fee of their children under the head of annual charges before their examinations.
Arguing that there was no provision of such a fee in the Sindh Private Education Institutions (Regulation and Control) Ordinance 2001, and (Amended) Act-2003 and Rule-2005, they said that school administrations had already charged two months' summer vacations (June and July) fee in advance and were now forcing them to pay the so-called annual charges as well.
An elderly person whose three children were studying in a private school in Gulistan-i-Jauhar's Block 12 said that at a time when prices of essential items and utility bills had skyrocketed, the private schools were bent on financially burdening the parents by demanding the so-called annual charges despite the fact they had already taken tuition fee of summer vacations in advance.
Another parent who telephoned from PECHS Block 2 criticised the management of the private school where her two daughters were enrolled.
She said that they (the school management) should realise that it was not justified on their part to demand the so-called annual charges from the salaried class people as they had recently paid two months' summer vacations fees and transportation charges of their children in advance despite the fact that they did not receive their salaries in advance. DawnYour Comments
BSEK announces forms submission date
Karachi: The Board of Secondary Education Karachi has announced that the registration and examination forms for SSC part I and II (both regular and external) for the year 2010 will be accepted from March 16 to 18.
This will be the last chance for the candidates to submit the exam forms with a late fee of Rs1,200. PPI
Free school education
Karachi: Attending to the needs of her siblings and manning the household was all life could offer to Khadija and many other poor women like her living in Khadda Market, a slum area in Lyari. Their meagre resources could never allow them even to have a government school education or an opportunity to learn any professional skills.
A turning point in their lives, however, came when they joined a free literacy school-cum-vocational training centre a few months ago. Today, they are a productive part of their community.
"Education has given meaning to our lives. All of us still run homes, but now there is a feeling of personal gain and achievement. We have learnt so many crafts here that helped us to supplement family incomes. The happiest part of our school experience is that our teachers are friendly. They willingly tell us what we need to know and listen to and address our problems," said Khadija Ahmed.
The school set up by the Social Sector Support Service, a non-government organisation, has not only provided underprivileged women with means of education and vocational training, but also a platform to share problems and act together. And, it's of great benefit especially for elderly women that include 65-year-old Hajra Ismail, a widow taking literacy classes at the centre.
"I am a heart patient and live alone at home. The school is a huge blessing for people like us who are marginalised in society because of our age, deteriorating health and loneliness," says Hajra. "I have found good people here, some of whom have become my friends and take care of me."
Along with a girls school, the NGO has made separate arrangements to provide free education and skills to street boys. The service offers training in motor mechanics, repair of home gadgets, fashion designing, stitching, embroidery and beauty care.
Explaining how the idea of working in the education sector was conceived and what the organisation aimed to achieve, Abdullah Khadim Hussain, an educationist to the core, said: "The desire is to benefit the poorest of the poor by helping them stand on their own feet and giving them a chance to live a respectable life."
The country's 65 million people, he said, had no education or vocational training. Hence, this highly productive age group had been deprived of all opportunities to have a decent life.
"Illiteracy and joblessness could promote crime. So, there is a dire need for investment in the development of human resources in Pakistan. We aim to set up a replicable model that integrates general education with vocational training that leads to empowerment and improvement in quality of life," he said.
The NGO that took off with efforts of a group of dedicated individuals had initially opened three similar setups in three areas of the city a decade ago. While two were closed down because of administrative problems, the schools in Lyari are still being run where the student registration has increased from 25 to 225 in 10 years.
Many former students are today earning from the skills they learnt here. A few have been employed as teachers while those who have shown interest in higher education continue to get support.
Pointing out some hiccups, Mr Hussain said that though the schools were being run in vacant government buildings with official consent, a constant fear nagged them that they might be evicted from there.
"This also creates multiple problems in an efficient management of the school's affairs. The government would do well if it officially declares that the buildings could be used for school permanently," Mr Hussain said. Dawn
DHA college annual day
Karachi: DHA Education Director Brig (r) Iftikhar Arshad said on Saturday that the aim of education is to produce confident and dynamic individuals who can face the onslaught of life challenges successfully. He was speaking as the chief guest on the occasion of the annual day of the Defence Authority Degree College.
Education is a harbinger of change and must bring a change in thinking, outlook, conduct and attitude of individuals, he said. The annual day events included awards distribution ceremony, a science exhibition and an impressive talent programme by students of the college.
He emphasised upon the need to channelise the energies of the students in the right direction to optimally build their physical and mental capabilities so that they could excel in their practical careers.
He informed that the DHA was launching new educational projects and said that Defence Institute of Technical Education would become functional in April while the recently established Defence Authority Teachers' Training Institute would shortly start its courses. Daily times
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