The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has ordered district scrutiny committees across the province to supervise the new registration process and inspect the renewal process of previously registered schools to regulate private schools in KP.
The said committees were formed under the KPK Private School Regularity Authority Act 2017, which was passed last year to regulate private schools in the province. According to the act, two committees were formed to scrutinise male and female schools of each district separately, while female and male district monitoring officers of Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) had to chair these committees respectively. These committees also included district education officer (DEO), the principal of a high school nominated by the DEO, and a nominee of the deputy commissioner.
According to the law, district scrutiny committees will verify the facts and other allied matters listed by the private schools at the time of registration, change of category, relocation, and merger.
The committee has the power to summon documents of related schools, receive statements on oath and instruct the applicant to file affidavits. Also, the committees have the power to enter and inspect any school and their documents in soft or hard form, and talk to any teacher, student, or employee of the school if required. After the inspection, the committee shall forward the recommendations to registration and inspection committees for further suitable action.
KP Private School Regularity Authority Managing Director Zafar Shah stressed that the district scrutiny committees have all the required powers to inspect and regulate the private schools across the province. He opined that if any private school caught violating the rules or did not cooperate with the committee members, they would be punished as per the law.
Shah emphasized that the standard of teachers and school fees would be decided on provincial level or by the high court. And no private school would be allowed to charge the vacation fee in advance. However, the private school would be allowed to charge tuition fee during the vacations.
Shah said private schools had only been allowed to charge fees for vacations as they had liabilities of building rent and salaries. He also explained that all private schools had been registered and from next year private school students of the fifth and eighth grade would appear in the assessment exams conducted by the relevant boards.
However, the private school associations have rejected the government standardized fifth and eighth-grade assessment exams of their students. National Education Council of Pakistan Chairman Nazar Hussain said such assessments were illegal and private schools would not allow the government to implement such policies.