On Wednesday, the Directorate of Inspection and Registration of Private Institutions Sindh (Dirpis) warned the owners and administrators of privately managed schools not to force the parents and children to purchase printed cover notebooks, registers, practical journals, school uniforms, books from specific outlets or schools.

Students can’t be expelled from schools because of unpaid fees without the permission of the directorate. Corporal punishment is strictly banned at schools. In violation, the schools may lose their registrations. School owners cannot collect money from students to celebrate any particular day, including Mother’s and Father’s days. Expelling of any student from the school without necessary proceeding is prohibited. Privately managed schools cannot change uniforms without the approval of registering authority.

According to Dirpis Registrar Rafia Javed, the decision has been taken given the complaints received from the parents and students. A circular has been issued to all principals and administrators of privately owned schools for strict compliance, warning that severe action will be taken against defaulters. The private schools can only give stickers showing the names of the educational institutions to the parents to be pasted on the cover of school copies, registers, and journals.

The parents and students cannot be forced to purchase uniforms, school bags, books, and other stationary items from the school or any particular shop. The lists of school books, notebooks, practical journals, and other stationary items should be given to the students at the time of admissions instead of asking them for money to purchase them from the school.

 She said that the students are not bound to buy such items from the schools that get admissions. Parents have the right to purchase stationery, books, and school bags from the open market.

She pointed out that sometimes school owners ask for money to celebrate Mother’s Day, Flower’s Day, Colour Day, Mango Day, Music day, and others. However, such ceremonies become a burden for parents. The school administrators are strictly ordered not to collect money to celebrate special days.

The circular reads: “the schools should issue monthly fee vouchers to the students or collect monthly wise fee instead of quarterly of bimonthly. However, two months fee voucher may be issued to the parents who intend to deposit the fee for more than one month at their own discretion”.

The schools can collect only approved fees from the students, but they would display the approved fee on the school’s notice board and reception, while parents will have the right to receive approved vouchers on demand.

In addition, private school owners will not change uniforms before 5-years. However, if any of the private schools change uniforms, the administration would first seek the permission of the directorate. Privately managed schools should allow fee concession to at least 10% of deserving and award scholarships to meritorious students of the total strength of the students as per rule 13 of the Sindh Educational Institutions Act 2005.

The circular read that no student should be expelled or punished, such as keeping them in isolation, standing on benches, scolding, and rebuking. “Corporal punishment is strictly prohibited,” said Rafia Javed, who added that based on unpaid fee, the school can’t expel students from school unless they inform the directorate. However, the directorate can take action against the parents and students if they don’t school fee for more than three months. But in case of any complain lodge by the parents in the directorate, students cannot be expelled from the school till the inquiry related to the complaint is finalized.

She said that no late fee should be received from the students. Expelling of any student from the school without necessary proceeding is prohibited. The parents should be issued at least two warning letters and be allowed to hear them in person before taking such action. In case of an unsatisfactory explanation of the parents, the names of their wards may, however, be struck off from the role of the school under the intimation to the directorate.

As per rule 12 of the Sindh Educational Institutions Act 2005, it is imperative for the school to constitute parents teachers association representing both the parents and teachers which should perform such functions as may be assigned it by the registering authority. The school will conduct the meetings of the association regularly.

Read more: DIRPIS instructs private schools to ensure Sindhi language teaching

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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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