Private schools charging high fee in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

No way yet to check private schools charging high fee
Peshawar: Successive governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have failed to set up an autonomous regularity authority for private schools, who had been charging students at their will in the absence of any legal fee structure.

Establishing a private school has become a very lucrative business and during past few years mushrooming growth of private schools has been noted in the name of imparting quality education.

These schools have been charging high annual promotion and monthly fee along with other charges such as examination, sports and medical fees, putting extra burden on the parents.

One reason for parents being forced to get their children admitted to private schools has been the poor performance of government schools.

The provincial government had established 'Regularity Authority for Registration of Private Institutions' (RARPI) under the North West Frontier Province Registration and Functioning of Private Educational Institutions Ordinance, 2001, to streamline, supervise and regulate the functioning of private educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, the authority has so far proved ineffective in controlling the powerful administrations of private schools.

An official of the RARPI, which functions under the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education chairman said that the authority had proved toothless in the absence of any legal powers with it to check the fee structure.

There have been no criteria for private schools' fee structure and they increase fee at their will. Similarly, administrations of private schools also indulge in unlawful activities to lure more students to their respective institutions, like using unfair means to show good results in secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations.

"Private schools have been indulging in all sorts of unethical practices from overcharging students to buying examination staff to show 'performance', but the government has failed to initiate any action against them," said an official.

He said that whenever private schools moved court against the regulatory authority's action it couldn't defend its action as there was no proper fee structure in the law.

An official of the Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) department told this correspondent that the education department had proposed the establishment of a separate regulatory authority under the E&SE department, but the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet rejected the idea.

"The cabinet observed that a joint regulatory authority should be formed to control all private educational institutions, including schools, technical education institutions, colleges and universities," he said.

However, the official said that it was not possible for a single regulatory authority to control all the private schools, colleges and universities in the province.

Asked about no mention of fee structure and categorisation of private schools in the existing law, the E&SE official said that it was the responsibility of the regulatory authority to frame bylaws for this purpose as such things were never mentioned in the ordinance or law. Dawn

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KMC turns into under-construction plaza
Peshawar: The Khyber Medical College (KMC) is presenting a look of an under-construction plaza because of ill-advised planning for expenditure of Rs300 million by the previous administration of the institution.

The simultaneous start of repair work, even where it was not required, would create difficulties for students when they join the college today (Monday). This is typical of the public sector planning, which are expenditure-driven instead of need and requirement.

The previous administration had initiated an extensive repair of all the lecture theatres, laboratories and even faculty offices. The present administration is trying hard to get these buildings repaired as soon as possible.

Senior faculty members blamed the previous administration for extreme ill-planning. The repair work, which they said should have been done phase-wise, was started all of a sudden throughout the college. It appears that previous administration was interested in spending the heavy budget, which the college received for first time in its history.

The college was allocated Rs300 million for repair and equipment. A senior teacher said that the undergraduate students didn't require very sophisticated equipment, adding that mostly when it purchased it remained unused and become obsolete in due course of time.

A similar purchase was made in Bannu Medical College a few years back and hardly any part of it has been used. That sophisticated equipment also proved to be unhelpful for earning the college recognition, he added. It appears that the college, both administratively and academically, deteriorated in due course of time. In recent past, many senior faculty members left the college and joined other institutions.

The faculty members blamed the previous administration for all the mal-administration and chaotic situation in the institution. They said it was not only the academics atmosphere that deteriorated but also in the last one year no extra-curricular activities took place in the college.

The KMC, which was once famous for its literary; sports and other extra-curricular activities, didn't have any in the calendar year, they said. It was also known that the previous principal kept the official staff car for almost a month after her removal from the office. It was learnt that the previous principal used three vehicles, in which a staff car and a newly purchased hiace remained parked at her residence. In addition, she had another hiace under her control, which was parked in the college garage. The petrol usage for the three vehicles in July was Rs61,000, which was manifold higher than sanctioned for such officer.

When contacted, KMC Principal Dr Sultan Mahmood admitted that the new administration was concerned about the situation as repair work had been started simultaneously in the college, which he said, could have been initiated phase-wise.

The principal said the administration had several meetings with the officials of Communications and Works (C&W) Department to expedite the work. He said the repair work at lecture theatres and laboratories was near completion, which would soon be completed. However, he said it could be used for lectures.

When asked about the faculty offices, he said work on the offices had to be stopped for a while as their first priority was to finish the repair of lecture theatres and laboratories.

Commenting upon the excessive fuel charges of the three vehicles in use of the former principal, he said though there were reports about the excessive fuel usage, yet he didn't receive anything in writing. He said the administration would discuss the matter at the meeting of the Institutional Management Committee. The news

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Lecturers rally for release of salaries
Peshawar: All Contract Lecturers Association (ACLA) on Monday staged a protest demonstration here outside Peshawar Press Club, demanding release of salaries to the second shift lecturers, which had been withheld from the last 15 months.

Speaking on the occasion, ACLA provincial president Nasir Khan said that these contract lecturers had been serving with 25 government higher secondary schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that while the government had given extension to morning shift teachers and regularised their services, it failed to even pay the salaries of second shift teachers for the last over a year.

Dozens of male and female lecturers holding banners and placards inscribed with their demands participated in the demonstration. They were also shouting slogans against the authorities concerned for using delaying tactics in release of their salaries.

Mr Nasir, leading the rally, said that the government should realise the promises it made with the contract lecturers for regularisation of their services.

He said that non-payment of salaries for such a long time was a violation of the basic human rights of lecturers who had been facing financial problems. He also warned that the lecturers and their students could launch a long march on Islamabad if the provincial lawmakers failed to resolve their problems.

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Schools vacated by flood victims reopen
Peshawar: The government reopened all schools in the provincial metropolis on Monday after vacating the same from the flood-affected people, officials said.

However, some government schools in Charsadda and Nowshera districts are closed as they are still occupied by the flood survivors.

"All the schools in Peshawar have been vacated from flood victims, however, some people are still staying in the newly constructed blocks of Government Higher Secondary School City No.1 and No.3.

These new buildings are not in the use of schools," Planning and Development Additional Director Bashir Hussain Shah said.

The dislocated persons, occupying 20 schools in Charsadda and 12 in Nowshera, were reluctant to leave the buildings as they had not received tents.

An official of the education department hoped that schools in Charsadda and Nowshera would also be vacated from the flood victims as a non-governmental organisation had promised to provide tents to them within two or three days.

The affected families staying in the two schools in Peshawar have also not received tents due to which they have refused to go to their native towns. These families belong to the flood-hit areas of Charsadda and Nowshera.

The philanthropists had distributed tents among the flood victims, living in the schools, to enable them to go back to their villages but many of them had not received the same due to mismanagement and non-presence of them at that time.

The displaced people have demanded of the government to provide them tents, food package and cash amount of Rs20,000 before asking them to leave the schools. Dawn

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