Streamlining education: PHC seeks legislation to regulate private schools

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has directed the provincial government to chalk out a law to set up a regulatory body for private education institutes and implement the sibling policy before October 29.

If it fails, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Law, Human Rights, and Parliamentary Affairs minister and secretary will be summoned to appear before the court. A division bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain issued the order during the hearing of a case pertaining to the cancellation of the licences of two schools. These had been cancelled for not following the sibling policy. On October 2, 2012, the PHC ordered the K-P government to ensure schools grant a 50% fee concession to siblings studying in the same school.

According to the education board’s counsel Shakila, the law requires the board to give permission before schools can be opened in its jurisdiction. This is being done currently. However, the government has not constituted a regulatory authority to monitor private schools in the province, argued Advocate Athar Minallah, counsel for private education institutes. Such an authority would be able to cancel licences of schools found violating the law.

Justice Khan remarked the court has ordered the government on more than one occasion to create a proper policy on how private schools  should function. Their standards are not satisfactory and the schools are run like a commercial sector, but nothing has been done to fix this, remarked the chief justice. “The government seems least interested in amending provisions of The Registration and Functioning of Private Educational Institutions Ordinance, 2001 in which many provisions are not effective.”

Entire sections of the ordinance need to be revisited by experts to make it effective and transparent. When the government creates the regularity authority, it should be free from political influence, maintained the PHC chief justice.

According to the bench, the authority will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the sibling concession fee. As well as making certain criteria mandatory, including the level of educational qualification for teachers and laboratories.

The bench then ordered the K-P government to expedite work on setting up a regulatory body to look over private education institutions. If this is not complied with, the law minister and secretary would be asked to appear before the court on October 29 .

Source: The Express Tribune