The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training has approved grant of Rs100 million to the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) for operation of the bus service in its schools and colleges and strictly ordered not to charge any kind of fee from students in compliance of article 25-A of the constitution. This was informed the National Assembly (NA) on Monday by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javaid Abbasi while responding the calling attention notice in which Aliya Kamran, Muhammad Jamal Ud Din and others asked raised the point of the FDE’s move regarding collection of transport charges from students of Schools and Colleges under the directorate. Abbasi recalled that these 200 buses were provided to FDE in 2016 in PML-N’s tenure with all required funds to keep them operational. “The issue emerged in 2021 when the Ministry of Finance objected that funds for buses are not available due to financial constraints of the county,” he said. There were then suggested two options as either to place co-sharing or public-private partnership methodology in order to bear the expenditures of these buses. “On that time public-private partnership methodology was approved and it was decided to form management committees in each respective school and college,” he recalled, adding that also formulated rules in this regard under which it was declared that instead of the government these committees would manage all such expenditures. “When the matter was highlighted in the media, Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain strictly ordered to withdraw all such charges and also issued a grant of Rs100 million”, he claimed not only this the Minister also ordered that the committees would be bound to get prior approval from the Ministry for all such moves. Earlier, the students from class 1 to matric of studying in FDE’s institutions were asked to pay Rs1,500 each as transport charges from December 1. All they asked will not be given the pick-and-drop service in school buses in case of failure to pay such charges. The decision has disturbed many parents as they are already facing the brunt of inflation as they will have to pay transport fee for up to four children. Majority of schools run under the FDE have two shifts of buses and the parents sometimes have to pick or drop their children themselves, but now they will also have to pay the fee. As soon as the students and their parents showed concerns on social media and mainstream media, FDE authorities directed the schools and colleges not to collect transport charges until the ‘final decision’ in this regard. “The matter regarding transport funds for buses is under consideration at the higher level and is likely to be decided shortly. All the heads of institutions and School Management Committees (SMCs) and College Management Committees (CMCs) may withhold the collection of transport charges from parents till the final decision which would be conveyed accordingly,” reads a statement issued by the FDE. Subsequently, Federal Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain announced the withdrawal of the aforementioned notification for charging of transport fee. “Have taken strict notice of the reports regarding imposition of Rs2,500 as new transport/bus fee in schools/colleges under the ambit of Federal Directorate of Education, Islamabad. Directions issued that NO such fee will be charged and for FDE to withdraw any such order,” the Minister said in a hurriedly issued statement by the ministry’s public relation section. It added that the minister took notice of this as parents and students for the last 10 days or so had been urging the FDE to withdraw the notification that mentioned the bus fee as Rs2,500 per student.