KARACHI - Education nowadays is no more a service, but an industry. Even in the public sector schools, the parents have to incur heavy amount of fees in pursuit of a bright and educated future for their children.

Sending the position holder students back to their homes by the management of Public School Gadap, just because they cannot afford school fees, is a recent example of changing the prestigious profession of education into plunder and loot.

Public School Gadap – a school whose management was handed over to Sindh Graduate Association (SGA), a non-government organisation, under the ministry of then education minister, Pir Mazharul Haq. The institution is set to run under Public Private Partnership, providing excellent educational and boarding facilities particularly to the students belonging to Gadap, District Malir, Karachi and other rural areas of Sindh. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by M Siddique Memon, then Sindh Secretary Education and Dr Salman Sheikh, SGA chairman under ‘Ek School Apnao Policy’.

According to the policy, the school management will give admissions to 600 students and provide them free of cost education. Out f them, 300 students would be provided free of cost residence, school uniforms and books.

However, the SGA management violated the MOU, as it is demanding Rs14,000/month as fee, and those, who are unable to submit such heavy amount of fee, are expelled from the school.

Shahmeer and Usman Ghani – the brightest students of the school and consistent position-holders – could not continue their studies as they do not belong to a family that can afford such exorbitant amount of fees. Shahmeer is the son of a farmer while Usman’s father is a security guard.

“The administration had sent a letter demanding us to pay the fees. Otherwise, our boy will not be able to continue his studies in the school,” Shahmeer’s uncle exclaimed his views while talking to The Nation. He said they could not afford the school fee, so Shahmeer will not go to school anymore. Talking to The Nation, SGA secretary general, Wali Muhammad Roshan said, “We believe in merit system and always welcome meritorious students. We often offer scholarships to the poor meritorious students.” But surprisingly, Mr. Roshan failed to remember how many students had procured scholarship by the SGA.

PSG Principal Akhtar Ahmad Memon admitted that the school administration has demanded Rs14,000/month from the students.

He bluntly said, “How can we give admissions to those students who cannot even meet our fees structure?”

It is not a hidden truth that education system in Pakistan is in doldrums. On one hand, there is a stark difference between private and public sector education whereas, within the private sector there is difference in quality, based on purchasing power of the consumer. Hence, those who cannot afford load of heavy fees pursue government schools. But despondent situation is that the doors of many public sector schools get closed for the poor citizens.