December 01, 2011 - Having failed to get relief from the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh and relevant government departments in the matter of illegal increase in tuition fees, TI Pakistan has written a letter to the Chief Justice Sindh High Court seeking his indulgence in sorting out the issue.
Advisor, TI Pakistan, Syed Adil Gilani in his letter sent on December 1 said: "We are receiving complaints from parents regarding the illegal increase in tuition fees.
These parents, along with Transparency International Pakistan, have asked the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh and the Directorate of Inspector/Registration of Private Institutions Sindh to take appropriate action against these violations.
However, nothing has been done to put an end to this violation so far".
He has also enclosed a case sent to TI Pakistan by Imran Ellahi, a resident of Karachi.
The matter involves the illegal increase of tuition fees (18.33 percent to 29.09 percent as opposed to the limited legal increase of 5 percent annually) and "blatant violation of Rule 7(3) of the Sindh Private Education Institutions (Regular & Control) Ordinance 2001, Amended Acts and Rules 2005, by Dawood Public School".
Imran Ellahi, had filed complaints with the Chief Minister of Sindh, Governor of Sindh, Minister of Human Rights, several other ministers and advisors of the Sindh government, Ombudsmen Sindh, Secretary Education, Director Private Schools and many other authorities.
While the complaints were always forwarded to other departments, the reality is that the issue still stands, Adil Gilani said.
Main instances, in chronological order, quoted by him are:
Director of Education Department had passed orders to the School on January 21, 2010 to comply within three days; the school did not follow these orders.
Though they flouted these orders, the department renewed their yearly license.
On January 23, 2010, Provincial Ombudsman Sindh directed the Education Department to issue necessary orders to the school administration to restrict fee increase to 5 percent as per the Rule.
Instead of following the directives, through a letter dated April 7, 2010, the school administration expelled Ellahi's daughters, Fatima and Laiba depriving them from their right to education.
Pursuant to the complaint, Director of Human Rights filed Ellahi's application on April 8, 2010 on the order of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Furthermore, upon receiving a letter from Transparency International Pakistan dated September 20, 2011, Deputy Secretary of Sindh Education Department instructed Director Education Sindh on October 17, 2011 to note the complaint and apply the rules.
No actual outcome seems to have materialised from any of these efforts, he said.
Adil Gilani said that certain private schools - The City School, Beacon Light Academy and Karachi Grammar School, to name a few - have filed petitions against the ordinance citing that a 5 percent increase was not realistic in keeping with the burgeoning inflation costs today.
These petitions numbered D-375, D-813 and D-1704 have been pending since 2006 ie for the last 5 years.
He submitted that in the light of recent judicial policy, these petitions should have been adjudicated upon within two years from the date they were filed.
The consequence of this delay is that these schools are taking advantage of the confusion and are continuing to illegally charge exorbitant amount of fees.
Transparency International Pakistan requested the Chief Justice to look into this matter and end the suffering of the two children that have been robbed of their rights due to Dawood Public School's misuse of law.
It has to be ensured that the Rule is implemented and followed by all private schools in Sindh, for the benefit of children, parents and school teachers.