by Naveed Butt
ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has expressed serious concern over charging hefty fees by private schools and acquiring plots of million rupees at subsidized rates under the pretext of running charity organisations.
All the committee members were shocked when it was informed that private schools have acquired lands at low price in federal capital but they had not constructed any building on it.
The committee that met here with Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood in the chair took notice of the private school mafia, who have turned the sacred cause of education into a lucrative business.
Some private schools are charging fee in dollars while the teachers of private schools are getting meager salaries.
The Committee recommended the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to cancel such plots on which no school building has been constructed. The committee members showed resentment over the performance of the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PIERA) and urged the government to demolish the regulatory body as it is wastage of public money as it has failed to perform its duties.
They said that private schools have become huge business in the name of charity organizations but there is no check that who is doing what in the name of running schools.
They recommended that the regulatory body should chalk out fee criteria besides keep a check on standard of education, security and facilities provided by the private schools. It also recommended that the government should increase funds for public schools for providing maximum facilities to the students and to improve their education standard.
Talha said that the prime minister had ordered that no private school can raise its fee in 2015. The prime minister has given the responsibility to education ministry, he said, adding now the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) must implement his orders in letter and spirit.
He was also skeptical that the private schools were implementing the orders of the prime minister. “There is need to monitor these private schools as nobody seems giving paying any heed to the government t orders,” he regretted.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha, a member of the committee said that some private schools are charging fee in dollars while the teachers of private schools are getting meager salaries. The PIERA should formulate rules and regulations and fee criteria for private schools, he added.
The list further explained that Preparatory School Islamabad is charging Rs 175,000 admission fee, 25,000 security fee and Rs 25,300 to Rs 34,500 monthly fee.
Senator Kalsoom Perveen said that the PIERA is sleeping and it should be shut down, adding the owners of private schools have made the education a lucrative business and they are looting the parents, which needs to be stopped.
Senator Talha directed CDA and Federal Board of Revenue to submit detailed reports about the taxes given by the private schools and plots in the name of education or charity organisations by next meeting.
About the plots, the CDA official said that according to law, the owners of the private schools are bound to construct school building within two years after acquiring plots. The members said that the owners of private schools purchased plots at low price in the name of charity organisation and then sold it out at exorbitant rates. This prompted the chair to issue directives to CDA to immediately cancel all plots of those private schools who had not constructed any building within the period of two years.
A list of plots which were given to the private schools was placed before the committee. The schools, which got plots in the capital, included: Frobel’s International School has acquired 6000 sq. yard plot at the rate of Rs 70/ sq. yard in F-7/2 Islamabad in 1981, Beacon House acquired 23725 sq. yard at Rs 100 per Sq. yard in H-8/1 in 1985, City School, 14036 Sq. Yard plot at Rs 100 per sq. yard in 1986 in H-8, International Grammar School, 11085 sq. yard at the rate of premium Rs 500 per sq. yard in Sector F-11 in 1996, Toddlers Academy, 11288 sq. yard at Rs 500 per Sq. yard in G-11/3 in 1996, Cambridge School, 8888 Sq. Yard at Rs 500 per Sq. yard in H-8 in 1996, National College of Business Management Sciences, 8888 Sq. yard at Rs 250/sq. yard in 1996 in H-8, Jinnah Public School, 5989 Sq yard at Rs 500/ sq. yard in 1996 in G-11/3 and Wahid Public School, 14605 sq. yard at Rs 250/ Sq. yard in 1996 in F sector.
Similarly, Bahria College Naval Complex acquired 1.93 acres land at Rs 4500/ Sq. yard in H-11/4 in Islamabad in 2005, Head Start School, 1.32 acres land at Rs 4500/ Sq. yard in 2005 in H-11/4, Bahria Foundation College acquired 1.93 acres at Rs 4500/ sq. yard in H-11/4 in 2005 and Islamabad Science School and College, 1.03 acres at Rs 4500/ sq. yard etc.
In 2006, Sajjid Ideal Model School acquired 3 acres land at Rs 1785/ sq. yard in Chak Shehzad Islamabad, Pak Turk School, 2.66 acres at Rs 1785/ sq. yard, Lahore Grammar School, 1.42 acres at 7400/ sq. yard in H-8 Islamabad and Pak International School (PIES), 1.8 acres at Rs 1785/ sq. yard and Pak Turk School, 2.66 acres land at Rs 1785/ sq. yard in Chak Shehzad Islamabad etc.
In 2007, Marjan Public School acquired 1.24 acres land at Rs 7400/ sq. yard in H-8/1, AIMS Education System, 1.204 acres at Rs 7400/ sq. yard in H-8 and Anglo Oriental School, 1.204 acres at Rs 7400/ sq. yard etc. According to list, International School Islamabad is charging fee in dollars. For example, its charges from grade 6 to 12 are $250 registration, $5,700 admission fee while monthly fee is $1,690. Sheikh Zayed International Academy is charging $785 to $1,075 monthly tuition fee and $100 security fee from grade 6 to grade 12 etc.
The list further explained that Preparatory School Islamabad is charging Rs 175,000 admission fee, 25,000 security fee and Rs 25,300 to Rs 34,500 monthly fee. Pak Turk School, Frobel’s School and other get admission fee and other charges in millions.