Private school chain ‘withdraws’ 1,200 children

LAHORE:09 June: As many as 1,200 students have been “withdrawn” from the private City School chain for not submitting their complete fee during the academic year 2017-18. According to parents, they received letters confirming that the school had withdrawn their children after the students completed the academic year 2017-18. It further stated: “Please note that as a result of the withdrawal, your child will not be re-enrolled at the school for the coming school year i.e. the academic year 2018-19.” The school told the parents in the letter that “Despite your default, we continued to provide your child with quality education for the remainder of the academic year since we did not want their education to be affected. We strongly value our students and their education.” The school, furthermore, assured it would provide parents with the result of the academic year. PIERA bars private schools from taking summer fees However, the school also said that it would withhold the security amount deposited by the parents until the dues were paid in full. In the letter, the school also threatened legal action. Reacting to the action by the school, Parents Action Committee (PAC) started a trend on social media to attract the attention of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Talking to The Express Tribune, PAC General Secretary Sajeel Usmani said that they were collecting letters of withdrawal, sent by The City School to parents, from all over Punjab. He added PAC had confirmed that 1,200 children had been withdrawn by the school. “Parents had not paid the fee because the amount being demanded by the school was unlawful,” said Usman. “According to the law, schools were to increase the fee by only 5%; however, these institutes were upped the amount by 30%. So, in protest, parents did not submit the fee.” He added parents demanded that the school charge the lawful fee amount, whereas the school said it had contested the law in the court and would abide by the decision. “When the case was decided, The City School itself did not abide by the decision of the court,” Usman added. He said that after collecting all the letters, PAC would go to court against the school. Lahore District Education Authority CEO Bashir Ahmed Goraya told The Express Tribune that he had called the management of the school to his office to explain the matter. When contacted, the City School, in a statement said, “It is incorrect that we have issued withdrawal notice to 1,200 students. In fact, the real number is much less. Withdrawal notices have been issued for parents who are fee defaulters for the academic year 2017-18 and have not cleared their dues despite repeated reminders. The fee defaulters are issued alerts as a routine and withdrawn as per regular system procedure. However, despite fee default, in the interest of students, these students were allowed to continue to attend class and take exams and have also been given their results. Withdrawn students have sufficient time to enroll in any other school for the upcoming academic year. We wish them the best for future academic endeavors.” Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2018.

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