Punjab government’s decision of reducing tuition fee of private schools to 80 percent has been widely rejected by the private schools as well as parents, as both of them have reservations at their part.

The private schools claimed that it is not possible to provide 20 percent discount to every student, while parents on the other hand also rejected this decrease by saying that when schools are off and there are no classes then government should have waive off 100 percent fee.

Punjab Government on Tuesday, decided that all private schools in province will charge 80 percent of the total fee for the months of April of May due to Coronavirus pandemic. A meeting of Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat, Minister for School Education Murad Rass and officials of School Education Department was held on Monday which sent a summary to the Chief Minister Usman Buzdar,  recommending charging 80 percent fee. The final decision would be taken by Chief Minister.

The summary states, “80 percent fee will be charged by the private schools to facilitate the large number of general masses during the spread of COVID-19 in Punjab for the month of April and May 2020. Fee will be charged on monthly basis, no teacher will be fired during this period and full salary will be paid to the employees of the school’.

Parents who rejected the decrease of 20 percent in fee, blamed the department of school education for favoring private schools in such economic conditions when parents are suffering due to halted economic activities.

Talking to Academia Magazine, Rizwan, father of three, who runs a business, observed that school of his children is constantly asking for the fee of children, but how can he pay the fee when his business is stopped by the government due to coronavirus. He commented that why does government not provide subsidy in this matter and pay at least half of the school fee, half should be paid by the parents. This will be a major facilitation for masses, he added.

President All Pakistan Private Schools Federation Kashif Mirza has rejected the decision by saying that this decision was imposed by government forcefully and we were even not part of the committee who decided the reduction of 20 percent. He also announced that when the government will notify it, private schools have plan to file a writ petition in court against it.

This is totally violation of Supreme Court’s orders which allows schools to increase fee and government cannot interfere the matter, he said. Kashif Mirza further stated that Punjab government should learn from other provinces specially Sindh where the government said that there would be no decrease in fee. While in Khyber Pakhtunkha (KP), the government is taking the responsibility of fee at its own shoulders and considering paying full or half school fee on behalf of parents.

Talking about reasons for not accepting this decrease, he noted that schools have their own expenses including paying fee of teachers and employees, rents of schools buildings, electricity charges and even taxes of government. So how is it possible to pay this 20 percent from their own pocket, he added.

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