Islamabad - The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) has directed the elite private schools to reverse the recent hike in fee to the structure of the last month and resolve the issue with parents amicably. A meeting was held between the owners/representatives of private schools located in Islamabad Capital Territory with Secretary CADD Khalid Hanif yesterday. The secretary after listening to the parents and owners of the schools asked both the parties to resolve the issue or else the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) will take action against the schools.

An 18 percent hike in fee by elite private schools has perturbed thousands of parents, who have started a protest campaign for a regulatory mechanism to keep a close check on such unbridled hikes.

After the meeting PEIRA issued a notification that said: “The monthly tuition fee including all ancillary charges will stand frozen at the level of August 31, 2015 till the resolution of the issue. No student will be expunged from private schools on the basis of non-payment of increased fee.” It was also agreed that all the private schools will resolve the grievances of the parents within two weeks. The parents say the elite private school hiked up the school fee to 18 percent even though inflation rate is between 5-7 percent. Unregulated and accountable heads such as registration fee is as high as Rs 50,000 and fee for second hand books being paid for by parents at the rate of Rs 17,000-19,000. A group of parents whose children go to private schools in Islamabad had also filed complaints against the exorbitant rates being charged by private schools with the higher authorities.

In their complaint to the president of Pakistan, the prime minister, the education minister, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court, chairman Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) and PEIRA, the parents had demanded that the private schools be asked to withdraw the fee challans issued in September until matters related to inflation, hidden heads and taxes are resolved to the satisfaction of the authorities as well as parents. The parents have also been demanding that parliament ought to introduce a fee regulation of private schools bill so that such issues do not recur in future. The PEIRA, which falls under the jurisdiction of CADD, was established in 2006 in order to regulate the functioning of private schools. But the authority that is responsible for monitoring hundreds of private schools in which over 200,000 students are enrolled has been without a permanent head since June 2013 and its employees have not been paid salaries in the current fiscal year that has brought all the work of the regulatory to a halt.