By Farman Nawaz
Last year Peshawar High Court has ordered the private schools of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to grant brother sister concession in tuition fee to its students. As now a days schools are affiliated with educational boards therefore the boards sent notification letters to all the private schools for the implementation of the court orders.
Similarly this year before summer vacation the private schools received a notification from the board forbidding taking a combine fee of the months of July and August. The petition for brother sister concession was filed by Mr. Pir Liaqat, the former advocate general of KPK and former judge of Peshawar High Court, whose children are studding in the leading schools of the province. Subsequently last month Peshawar Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education cancelled the registration of some leading schools in Peshawar.
The reason to force the private schools to implement this rule is to lessen the burden of school fee on the parents whose more than one child is studying in the private schools. It is a quandary here in Pakistan that aggrieved parties do not bother to knock at the door of courts. Parents are lucky that Mr. Pir Liaqat dared to speak up and now they will get the reward, provided private schools do not find any other loophole. But the unfortunate private school teachers are still waiting for a Messiah to file a petition against the exploitation of the owners of private schools.
It is a dilemma that the government has reservations about all those particulars including fee, that affect the children studding in private schools but the teachers who are teaching there, are at the mercy of the management of the schools. In registration form of schools there is no description of rules regulations about the salary, appointment, termination, promotion, provident fund etc of teachers. The members of the committee who comes for the inspection of the schools before registration also don’t bother to get information about the salary structure.
In private schools there are no rules regulations for the categories mentioned above. The will of the principal is the policy. Teachers of same qualifications and experience are allotted different basic salary scales. There are no rules of promotion and salary increase. Even some schools are not providing the minimum salary package set by government for laborers. Every year regularly fees are raised for the students but raise in the teachers’ salaries is always a negligible. The difference between salaries between 16 grade teachers of private schools and government schools is unbelievable.
Government must keep check on the salary and fee structure of the private schools. The fear that it will discourage investment in the private education is not logical. The government must also keep in mind that ultimately low salaries will also affect the quality of education provided in these schools.
It is a request to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and High Courts and the Chief Ministers of the provinces to take serious action against the authorities who are taking part in the legislation for private schools and colleges. Once such legislation is done for the private schools then it is easy for the teachers of the private school to raise a voice against the exploitation of the school management.
If Chief Justice of Pakistan needs an aggrieved party for taking action against these injustices then I, through the pages of this newspaper as I can’t afford to hire a lawyer, request him to file a petition for proper legislation regarding salary, appointment, termination, and promotion of teachers in private schools and colleges. It is a fact that private schools are helping government to handle the issue of joblessness therefore addressing this issue will do good to thousands of teachers working in private educational institutions.