ISLAMABAD: Most of the private institutions in the capital are receiving advance fees for the summer holidays despite clear directions by the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA), Daily Times has learnt.
PEIRA is the regulatory body of private educational institutions functioning in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). Last month, PEIRA had directed to all private educational institutes not to receive advance fee for the summer holidays at the same time. The summer holidays started from June 5 and will end on August 15.
"All private educational institutes are herby instructed to ensure compliance with the directive. They are directed to formulate monthly schedules for receiving fees strictly in accordance with the rules for the upcoming academic session," reads the letter.
However, most of the schools have not followed the directives of the regulatory body. Daily Times talked to many parents who said that they had been asked to pay advance fees. They said that it was difficult for them to pay fees for two or three months at the same time. "The fees charged by private educational institutions are already very high. They have now asked us to submit the fees of the whole duration of holidays in advance," he said.
Mateeur Rehman said that he had two siblings studying in the Allied School, Capital Campus Park Road Chak Shahzad Islamabad. According to the fee slips Rehman showed, the school's administration had charged him Rs 14,400 for three months from June to August.
Shazma Kanwal said that her two children were studying in the City School Campus Sector H-8. She said that the school had collected advance fee. "The school asked us to submit dues for June and July in May. In June, they charged for the month of August in advance," she said.
According to the receipts, the City School collected Rs 72,000 from Kanwal for her children of Grade 8 and one. "The school administration sent us vouchers for submission of books fee. I have to pay Rs 2,400 more till August 15," she said.
Another father Chaudhry Ajmal said that his son studied at the Rise International School Bhara Kahu Islamabad. "I have paid Rs 6,900 for the summer holidays," he said.
Wazir Khan, another parent, said that his three children studies at the Educators School Bhara Kahu Campus. According to the fee slips, Khan paid Rs 32,400 for the three months of June, July and August in May.
A father whose son is enrolled in Grade 3 in the Roots International School, H-8 Campus also complained against the collection of advance fee for holidays.
Requesting anonymity, a teacher at the City School said: "It is quite impossible for school administrations to obey PEIRA directives regarding collection of advance fees. The administration will have to pay the faculty and other staff their monthly salaries from their own pockets."
According to the PEIRA, there are total 1,069 registered private educational institutes in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) where 221,125 students are enrolled. As per these figures, the private educational institutions collected millions of rupees from their students for the holidays.
PEIRA Chairman Hasnat Qureshi said that the authority had issued directives to all private educational institutes not to collect fee for holidays at same time. When asked about the penalty for non-compliance, Qureshi said that the authority would look into the matter and violators would be issued notices under the law.
Interestingly, PEIRA issued its notification in June. However, a majority of private schools had already collected advance fees for holidays in the month of May.
Education experts said that it was a very serious issue and the government should devise a strict policy in this regard, instead of just issuing notifications.