Education Minister directs withdrawal of transport charges from FDE students

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Zubair Qureshi

Following criticism from parents and students, Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain has directed the Federal Directorate of Education to stop schools and colleges from collecting the monthly transport fee (from Rs1,500 to Rs 2,500) imposed recently.

The Minister for Education in a tweet revealed the decision was taken by the FDE without his approval.

I have taken strict notice of the reports regarding imposition of Rs2,500 as new transport/bus fee in schools/colleges under the ambit of Federal Directorate of Education, Islamabad and have issued directions that no such fee will be charged, he said.

The FDE has also been directed to withdraw any such order, the minister further said in his tweet.

Recently, the FDE had empowered the School Management Committees (SMCs) and the College Management Committees (CMCs) to run the school bus service on cost-sharing basis in accordance with the decision of the federal cabinet made last year.

Following the directions, the SMCs and CMCs had decided to charge the students from Rs1,500 to Rs2,500, a step that perturbed the students and their parents.

While talking to Pakistan Observer, parents of a grade-6 student in a local Islamabad Model School, expressed their relief over the government’s decision of withdrawing the transport levy and termed it a right step in the right direction.

We had already deposited Rs5,000 as bus charges for a year at the start of this academic year and now the new monthly charges were quite a burden and would have pushed us into a financial crisis, they said.

They had also requested the Director General of the FDE and the federal education minister to withdraw the decision about collection of monthly transport charges. It was on October 18 last month when the FDE through a notification had empowered the SMCs and CMCs to run the buses on cost-sharing basis.

“In pursuance of the approval of the cabinet on 2-2-2021 regarding operationalisation policy for buses in FDE and in accordance with the Right to Free and Compulsory Education and School and College Management Committee Rule 2021, the buses will be operated by School/College Management Committees (SMCs/CMCs).

The expenditure and revenue will be managed locally by SMCs/CMCs with notified monthly rates for students,” reads the earlier notification.

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