Private schools commission welcomed

Lahore :January 30 : THE recent initiative of the Punjab government to seek input of students, their parents and teachers for the establishment of the proposed education commission is being termed a step in the right direction. The commission will have a mandate to regulate unbridled working of private educational institutions.

The initiative also shows seriousness of the Punjab government to address the longstanding demand of the stakeholders who over the years have been demanding an independent body for regulating the affairs of private schools, especially to tap their fee structure.

According to the Punjab government’s advertisements, the government plans to set up the Education Commission to protect the rights of students, their parents and teachers of private schools.

The commission will also take action against private schools on complaints. The government also plans to empower the commission to direct the private sector institutions to fix a quota for the poor but talented students under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept.

Over the years, the ever-increasing fees together with heavy registration and admission charges, compulsory purchase of stationery items and uniforms from prescribed shops in the private sector have been some of the major concerns of students and their parents. On the other hand, the unchecked working of private schools led to their mushroom growth in absence of any accountability which also affect quality education.

Similarly, exploitation of teachers by private schools in absence of proper service structure and their low salaries vis-à-vis workload assigned to them is also an open secret.

The recent move is certainly belated as the PML-N government, coming into power in Punjab in 2008, had announced setting up the regulatory body for private schools. But since “better late than never”, the stakeholders are still excited and all praise for the government and hope to see the body functional before the general elections.

According to Punjab School Education Department Secretary Muhammad Aslam Kamboh, the government would introduce necessary legislation after the completion of the process of consultation. He said a Cabinet Committee had been formed in this regard, adding that the government would receive suggestions from the stakeholders till February 10, 2012.

The department’s Deputy Director (Monitoring) Rana Abdul Qayyum, the focal person dealing with public feedback, said the move had received good response from the stakeholders. He said that so far, he had received around 800 emails from the stakeholders besides hundreds of phone calls and letters.

It is pertinent to mention here that the stakeholders can send their suggestions to the government at dm@schools.punjab.gov.pk.The news.