The new provincial government has decided to look into and alter the legislation governing Punjab’s private schools . The law for private schools in Punjab, The Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion & Regulations) (Amendment) Act 2017, is likely to be altered to accommodate the PTI government’s agenda of reforms.
The order was passed during a meeting presided over by Punjab Schools Education Minister Dr Murad Raas on Wednesday. The meeting was directed to hire legal consultants to look into the framework and advise necessary changes to the law. It was decided in the meeting that a better mechanism for checks and balances for private schools was needed. For the purpose, legal changes would be made to the law. The meeting also decided to contact parents of children studying in private schools and resolve their complaints in a timely manner.
Furthermore, the meeting decided that a committee would be constituted for registration of private schools and the body will also look into and solve the problems faced for registering private schools in the province.
Speaking at the meeting, Punjab School Education Minister Dr Murad Raas said the private sector played a major role for promotion of education. He said the government wanted that the private sector help them in promoting education in the province and get every child in school as well as end child labour and illiteracy. The minister said quality education was the right of every child and the government wanted to ensure that any child did not miss out because of poverty.
Regulating private schools has been a major thorn in the side of the previous government as several protests and court cases against fee hike had been observed in the province as well as the other parts of the country since 2015. Parents have been complaining of unjust fee hikes by private schools for long and as a response, the previous administration amended the law regulating private schools. However, the same did not solve the problem, as the five percent fee raise per annum allowed by the government was challenged in courts by private schools.
Even to date, many schools continuing flaunting the orders. The previous government also set up a complaint cell to deal with overcharging and District Education Authorities (DEAs) were charged with keeping a check on private schools. However, the move proved to be a challenge for DEAs, who despite many efforts failed to curb overcharging.