The Sindh Education Department has told private schools in Karachi to return the extra money they have charged students within seven days or else their campuses will be sealed. The Sindh High Court and Supreme Court earlier ordered that schools are not allowed to increase their fee by more than 5% a year.
Mansoob Siddiqui, director general of the directorate of inspection of private schools, has also called for a report on 250 private schools in Karachi and a meeting with the schools’ regional directors.
The education department has issued notices to the schools telling them to return the fees or else their campuses will be sealed.
The registrations of Beaconhouse School System and The City School were suspended on Wednesday and they were also told to return the money or face their campuses being sealed. There are 56 City School campuses and 65 Beaconhouse School System campuses in Sindh.
However, the two schools say this suspension is in violation of the courts’ orders. “[The notification] holds no legal value and is in violation of the Supreme Court and the Sindh High Court’s orders,” read a joint statement. They said that they have been ordered to deposit they money with the Supreme Court registrar within three months, by December 31.
They have to pay all the extra money they charged above the allowed 5% fee increase.
Earlier, Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah issued the notice to the schools and said that the fee should be returned or adjusted in future payments.
Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Law Murtaza Wahab said nobody is above the law. “The law should be enforced and relief should be provided to the parents,” he said.
The court’s order to return the fee came after parents filed petitions against the 12 to 60% hike in school fees in violation of the Sindh Private Educational Institutions Ordinance, 2001, which allows schools to increase fees by no more than 5%.