Children won’t be expelled from their schools if their parents fail to pay their fees, according to an order issued by the Sindh High Court.
The order was passed at the last hearing and parents were also given a 20% concession in the fees for April and May 2020.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Omar Sial remarked that the court’s verdict will stay.
The petition has been filed by the children belong to the elite class, the judge remarked. “Those who can pay 80% of the fees can also pay the remaining 20%.”
The lawyers of the parents, however, said that parents can’t pay the full fees because of the lockdown. Business and commercial activities were suspended across the country after the government imposed a lockdown to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Sindh Attorney-General Salman Talibuddin said that the government ordinance has not been suspended. The schools should write on the vouchers that those who want to can pay the full fee, he added.
The court ordered the respondents to discuss how to implement the 20% fee concession. The schools were told to refund the excess 20% fee if they have received the fee already.
The petition was filed on May 13. It said that Sindh’s School Education and Literacy Department issued a special order on April 28, 2020 making it mandatory for all schools to grant a 20% concession in the tuition fee of students.
“Full salaries should be paid to the teaching and non-teaching staff of the private education institutes according to Rules. No staff would be laid off during COVID-19 pandemic,” said the special order, adding that “it is mandatory for every school to grant 20% concession in the tuition fee of students for the months of April and May 2020.”
The petitioners, the All Sindh Parents’ Association and Rasheed Razvi Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, argued that the auditor-general audited the accounts and tax returns of private schools in 2018 and found out that they were “making an enormous amount of net profit thereby, negating the plea of the private schools that a cap on the increase in school fee would be detrimental to the continuing function of the schools.”
In view of the audit report submitted in the Supreme Court it is “abundantly clear that similar objections raised by the private schools are based on malafide and misrepresentation, and are, therefore, liable to be rejected,” the petition said, adding that none of the private schools has any evidence to show that such detrimental reliance has been made.