Fees under various heads collected from students by educational institutes banned.
The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) on Wednesday issued a notification abolishing “all types of payment in the form of fee, charges and expenses from students of class 1 to 10 in all government educational institutes with immediate effect.”
The notification was dispatched to 391 principals of educational institutes falling under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) in the capital’s rural and urban zones. The order was the outcome of strong criticism from educationists, civil society activists and media on the implementation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2012.
“It will be a landmark step towards improving education and the promises made by the government in the Constitution,” said CADD Secretary Faridullah Khattak. Expenses of students under various heads such as laboratory fund, transport fund, sports fund will be abolished, he added.
Almost every Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) audit report raised questions about the amount collected by FDE under different heads from schools and termed it illegal.
Acting on former CADD Secretary Shaigan Shareef’s orders, an inquiry report was submitted with CADD on August 7 this year which unveiled private bank accounts opened under the title of Examination Fund Account for the FDE without the authority of concerned officials. Besides, there were other accounts as well which were not in the notice of AGPR or CADD.
FDE Director General Shahnaaz Anjum Riaz welcomed the order and said it would plug leakages and increase enrolment of students who would otherwise hesitate to get into schools due to high fees.
Although the announcement comes as good news given the low levels of attendance at educational institutions, it may create difficulties for schools.
The majority of colleges running evening classes employ staff on daily wages or contract basis. The regularisation of over 2,000 staffers of schools and colleges is still pending with CADD which is investigating fake entries and other legalities surrounding the issue.
“The announcement is welcome but CADD should have first decided about the fate of employees who are waiting for regularisation and get salaries from school or college funds,” said director schools at FDE Ghulam Hussain Sohoo.
He said it will be problematic and impractical to do so without any prior arrangements, allocation of budget and determining the status of staff. “Now let’s see when the government allocates funds for the subjects they have abolished,” he added.
CADD secretary said they would address all aspects gradually and were looking to induct evening staff. “We issued this notification despite resistance from certain quarters so it should be appreciated,” he added.
A teacher of the Islamabad Model College for Girls, F-7/4 was least optimistic about the announcement. “It is not so simple. Who will pay for the transport, for the staff on daily wages and activities carried out by institutions through collection of funds from students.”