Private schools challenge directive on fee schedule

IHC suspends PEIRA’s notification

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has suspended a Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) notification dated June 21, 2016 directing private educational institutions (PEI) within Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to implement the PEIs (Registration and Fee Determination) rules 2016 under ICT-PEIRA act 2013.
Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC bench issued stay order at the writ petition of The City School (Private) Limited and Jahangir Firoz challenging the said notification.
IHC bench also issued notices to the secretary Capital Administration & Development Division (CADD) and the PEIRA to submit reply on August 30. PIERA or Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority is an autonomous body supervising overall performance of the private schools and works under the Ministry of CADD.
PIERA in its notification had directed PEIs to ensure compliance of the fee schedule for the upcoming academic session of 2016-17 otherwise there will be administrative action taken against the institutions.
The petitioners through their counsel, Asma Jahangir, adopted before the IHC that PEIRA restrictions makes the running of a PEI virtually dysfunctional. In order to disguise the inability of the government in fulfilling its constitutional obligation, the respondents are misleading the public into believing that the policy of the government in decreasing fee in private institutions is a step towards implementing Article 25 A of the Constitution. The policy of government is placing an embargo on reasonable fee raise is a folly. It is misconceived, the petitioner said.
The Petitioner’s counsel argued that the PEIRA authority and its nominees set the ground rules from criteria of admissions based on its own subjective understanding, fee structure, teaching and non-teaching staff, resolution of any complaints, level of facilities offered and the capping of profit of the petitioner according to its own calculations.
It virtually takes over all management expect share any losses that the petitioner may incur as a result of such policies.
Petitioner said that a report issued by the Ministry of Education in March 2004 itself concluded that it should be the market forces rather than unreasonable regulations that will improve and expand the availability of quality education.
Petitioner has prayed to the court to declare the notification illegal. Meanwhile Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) in a condolence reference condemned terrorism incidents in Saudi Arabia. IHCBA president Tariq Mehmood Jehangiri while addressing to the reference said that there is a need to activate Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Muslim countries had been facing terrorism since decades. There is a dire need of unity to counter these threats and to protect Hermain from any potential threat.

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