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Need to regulate private schools

CHIEF Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa on Tuesday observed that the owners of private schools should switch over to another business if they are not sound in the existing one. Heading a three-member bench of the apex court hearing the case of private schools fee, the Chief Justice observed that the State is responsible for providing quality education to children in accordance with the Constitution. He, however, said it is also the job of the State to regulate private educational institutions.
The Chief Justice has made thoughtful observations during hearing of the case including the one advising the private schools to wait for at least three years for a reasonable increase in fee and they ought to surrender their license if the management wants increase of more than five percent in fee every year. The apex court is seized with the issue of increase in fee by private sector educational institutions for a considerable time and it is lamentable that no satisfactory solution has been arrived at due to non-cooperative attitude of the educational institutions. They are, in fact, in the habit of increasing fee substantially every now and then unilaterally and without any justification and are not ready to part with the undue profit. The worst part of the entire episode is that in majority of cases unqualified and untrained teachers are hired on low salaries and even these salaries are not paid timely besides non-payment of salaries for summer vacations. Quality of education being imparted by majority of them is also not commensurate with the fees and annual and other charges that the parents are made to pay. Most of the private schools are not run with a mission but on commercial consideration and that is why small houses are hired in different localities and small streets to house these institutions. All these issues need serious consideration by federal and provincial governments and steps should be taken on a priority basis to address them once for all.