Private schools will be closed on March 8 and March 9 in protest against the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) Bill (Amended) 2015. This bill calls for no increases in fees during academic year 2015-16 as compared to the fee charged during the academic year 2014-15.
The announcement was made on Sunday by the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) and the Pakistan Education Council (PEC).
In a joint statement, they said, “We decided to shut down our schools across the Punjab on Tuesday and Wednesday to register our protest against draconian laws that seek to strangle, not regulate private schools. This closure may lead to an indefinite strike.
The money hungry private schools elaborated further:
“We regret the impact that this will have on children we serve. We have arrived at this difficult decision not out of choice but because our schools can no longer afford to sustain operations.”
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The statement further said, “In the current scenario, provision of quality education in the Punjab is no longer possible. Private schools have come together to fight for survival of a sector that has made a massive contribution to this country.”
According to the statement, private schools have been reducing the overhead costs, which interferes with the quality of services and facilities on their part.
“We urge citizens who want their children to have access to the best education to reject the new law so that the private sector may continue to provide quality education for future generations.”
Recently, parents have been protesting over the large sums of money demanded by private schools, with slogans like “No Fee Till Low Fee” and “Sasti Taleem Subkay Liyay” (Economical Education for all) to pressurize the schools to allow some concession.
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APPSF and PEC spokespersons added, “Most private schools have been unable to revise teachers’ and staff salaries in the 2015-16 school year, leading to unhappy and de-motivated teachers, a factor that in itself spells disaster for quality teaching.”
Talking to The Express Tribune, a representative of the APPSF said that a meeting to negotiate with the government had been held with the provincial education minister on Friday, in which schools had put forward their reservations against the bill.
He said the ceiling on fee raises was unjustified and many schools would not be able to sustain the financial damage caused by the bill.