Private schools continue to make mockery of Supreme Court’s orders

KARACHI: Most schools are still reluctant to implement the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) regarding restructuring of school fees to the letter, and making the mockery of apex court’s order. They are misguiding the students’ parents on one pretext or the other, and keeping their revenues intact.

Although several contempt applications were filed by the parents, the education mafia seems too powerful. Although, the tuition fee is reduced by 20 percent, but other charges that schools collect have been increased to offset the decline in their revenues. [the_ad id=”31605″]Head Start School System in a circular issued to parents mentions that the reductions in the school fee are provisional, as these are subject to the outcome of various appeals and proceedings pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. “Depending on the final decision, we reserve the right to accordingly revise future fee,” it said. Hence, the sword still hangs.

Head Start School noted that the reduction only applies to tuition fees that is in excess of Rs5,000/month i.e. if the schools is charging Rs20,000/month, the 20 percent reduction will only apply to Rs15,000, as the initial Rs5,000 is exempt. Further, the reduction only applies to tuition fees and does not apply to any other fees charges by the school.   By the virtue of this interpretation, schools have raised other miscellaneous charges.

It may be mentioned here that schools are denying retroactive adjustment of fee since August 2018, i.e. the start of the school year. Therefore, the parents are deprived of all relief so far despite Sindh High Court declaring school fees increased by the private schools after December 20, 2017 as illegal.

The high court had ordered to restore the fees’ structure prevalent before December 20, 2017, saying that any raise given or made unilaterally by the private schools after that date is illegal and thus without any legal effect. The court asked the private schools to adjust the increased fees charged from the parents.

It may also be mentioned here that most schools have not adjusted 50 percent of the last year’s summer fee.

Almost all schools hid their profits using different techniques. Owners prefer to withdraw their profits as remunerations which attract only 26 percent tax as compared to 45 percent which would be required to be paid in case the same amounts were withdrawn as dividends.

It is yet to be seen that whether the Court’s order will be enforced, implemented in letter and spirit or school managements will find some other ways to circumvent the order and keep burdening the parents most of whom belong to middle class.[the_ad id=”31605″]

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