The recent expulsion of City School students over the dispute of fee increase has led parents to come further together against private schools and move the relevant courts of law to take school administrations to task.
Parents affected by City School’s decision gathered in Lahore to discuss the expulsion of about 1,200 children enrolled in around 12 branches of the school within and outside Lahore. The parents have joined hands under the banner of Parents Action Committee (PAC) and decided to take the matter to court.
The issue began last year when, according to parents, the school increased fees in excess of the lawfully allowed amount. As a result, parents protested and vowed not to pay any fee that was above and beyond the limits set by the law. On the other hand, the school challenged the Punjab government’s law that bound schools not to increase fees by more than 5 percent per annum, leading to a standoff between parents and school administrations. Subsequently, parents only paid fees that they considered legal and in line with the government’s directives.
However, the school administration sent notices to around 1,200 parents last Friday, informing them that their children had been struck off from the rolls and would not be enrolled in the next academic session.
The letter reads, “Please note that as a result of the withdrawal, your child will not be re-enrolled at the school, for the coming school year i.e. academic year 2018-19”. It explained, “Despite your default, we continued to provide your child with quality education for the remainder of the academic year since we did not want his/her education to be affected. We strongly value our students and their education.”
The letter continued that the school would provide the results of the current academic year but it would withhold the security amount deposited by parents at the time of admission until all dues were cleared in full. The letter also threatened legal action against the parents if they failed to submit the outstanding fees.
In response, the affected parents have approached Lahore District Education Authority (DEA), which held a meeting between parents and the school administration. On their part, parents said they were willing to pay the ‘lawful’ fee, while the school administration maintains that the children withdrawn were the ones whose fees had not been paid even after a year and they would not accept anything other than the fee they were owed.
DEA chief executive officer (CEO) has formed five committees to look into the matter and find a workable solution within a week, while the affected parents have decided in principle to take the matter to court.