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Private schools’ association accepts SC’s verdict regarding fees cut

ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Private Schools’ Association on Thursday accepted the Supreme Court verdict in a case pertaining to exorbitant fees being charged by private schools, ARY News reported.

The top court has ordered a 20 per cent decrease in fees charged by upscale private schools, and dictated all those schools who have received the winter vacations’ fees from students, to return 50 percent to parents or adjust the amount in the fees of upcoming months.

“The order will be applicable to private schools across the country whose fees are in excess of Rs5,000,” reads the verdict of the apex court.

Chairman All Pakistan Private Schools’ Association, Kashif Mirza in his statement expressed his resolve to implement the SC’s verdict in its true spirit and appealed the apex court to also look into the problems being faced by the owners of the private schools across the country.

On the other hand, the president of parents association had welcomed the order of the apex court regarding reduction in fees, and hoped the SC’s verdict will be helpful in releasing problems being faced by the parents.

Earlier in the day, Chief Justice Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had ordered all private schools across Pakistan to cut down their fees while instructing Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to freeze the accounts of at least two schools.

According to details, the case of exorbitant fees charged by private schools was heard at the Supreme Court where the chief justice directed FIA to freeze bank accounts of Lahore Grammar School (LGS) and the Beaconhouse School System (BSS) while further giving orders to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to initiate investigation against both the schools.

On the onset of hearing, the audit reports of LGS and BSS were submitted in court, which said that the directors and top officials of the schools had received Rs62 million in salaries in 2017. A total of Rs512m was spent on employees’ salaries in one year, while Rs5.2 billion was spent in five years, the report read, adding that various facilities were also provided.

Referring to school owners, the CJP snapped, “They are not running schools anymore, they have now become industrialists.”

The legal counsel of private schools Ayesha Hamid apprised the court that all schools were willing to decrease fees by 8 percent, to which the chief justice remarked that the proposed reduction was way too less.

From onward, the apex court will decide on the percentage of increase in fees, the CJP announced, cautioning, “if anyone attempts to close down the school, they will be charged with contempt of court.”

Concluding the hearing, the top judge decreed all private schools to reduce their fees. Meanwhile, the CJP dictated all those schools who have received the winter vacations’ fees from students, to return 50 percent to parents or adjust the amount in the fees of upcoming months.

“A hike in fees above five percent will only be allowed with the permission of the regulator,” Justice Nisar clarified.

The hearing was adjourned until next two months.

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