Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday took notice of increase in fees of private schools. The Prime Minister directed all the provincial governments to ensure affordable fee to extend relief to the masses. Nowadays, parents of school-going children protested against inordinate hike in fees in different areas of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. Protesting parents urged the authorities to devise a mechanism to maintain a check and balance on private institutions and monitor their fee structures.
Although Ministry of education has laid down five percent annual increase for the private schools but schools are charging well beyond this percentage. Parents believe that private schools have increased the fee to unprecedented level and it has become very hard for the parents to pay educational expenses of their children. It has also been witnessed that private schools keep charging high fee on some pretext or other. The mysterious school fee bills contain fee for creative activities, art activities, taking students for field trips, celebrating national days, and some other activities which should have been part of regular school routine.
School must have facilities of a playing ground, library, hygienic cafeteria and other services but it has been witnessed that usually private schools are operating in very congested rented buildings. After various rounds of increasing fee by private schools, fee has reached unprecedented level which irked parents to hit streets for protests.
On the other hand, Federal Minister for Education Balig-ur –Rehman said that increase in fee of private schools is illegal as they have not consulted with the official body which secures the right to allow increase in fee. It is encouraging to note that the prime minister himself has intervened in this matter and asked the education minister to handle the issue. Private schools have essentially evolved into a kind of mafia which no one has been able to effectively govern.
Problem would not be solved until government ensures that each child in the country gets the same and good quality education.