Islamabad - The regulatory body of private schools has formally notified the decision about zero increase in private schools’ fee on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The PM Office on Sunday last announced the decision to put a halt to the fee increase this year after the countrywide protests by parents whose children go to private schools.

The notification issued by Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) states: “All private educational institutions in Islamabad Capital Territory are directed not to increase any fee/ charges/ funds in 2015. Any increase in fee/fund/charges, already charged by private educational institutions, shall be refunded/ adjusted in the subsequent challans/bills.”

In exercise of powers conferred by section 4 (c) read with section 5 (b) and (h) of Islamabad Capital Territory Private Educational Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Act 2013, the determination and fixation of rate of fee charged by private educational institutions shall be regulated by PEIRA. The private education institutions enhanced the fee without the permission of the Authority, which is not permissible under the law, the notification said.   It further says: “In case of default, the Authority would be constrained to act in pursuance of section 16 of PEIRA Act 2013 against the non-observing institutions.” Balighur Rahman, minister of state for federal education and professional training, has also warned the private school against increasing the fee, saying any school found guilty will face the music including the cancellation of school registration.

Under the law, owners of private schools could face fines up to Rs 5,000 per day or a year in prison and the cancellation of their school’s registration. After protests by parents against exorbitant fee hike in September, the ministry of federal education and professional training after having consultations with the parents and owners/representatives of private schools had sent a summary to the prime minister. The summary said the ministry had proposed 7.5 percent hike in fee but private schools are adamant to keep the hike at 10 percent. But the prime minister setting aside both the proposals directed reverse hike announcing that this year there will be no raise in fee of private schools.

The parents now maintain that all fee raises after Peira act 2013 stands illegal. Shazia Rashid, who has been leading the movement of “No Fee Till Low Fee” said the Peira notification is not a permanent relief as the private schools will get the pricing formula that suits them agreed from Peira. “Now the petition filed with Islamabad High Court has become more important and it is necessary for parents to become party of it to safeguard their interests,” she added.