Watchdog for private schools in sight as KP cabinet okays bill

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Wednesday approved the much-delayed Private Schools Regulatory Authority Bill 2107.

Spokesman for the government Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani later told reporters during a briefing that the bill would soon be tabled in the provincial assembly for approval.

He said the education department placed the bill before the cabinet after consultation with the law and parliamentary affairs department.

The spokesman said the proposal law was meant for the registration and regulation of private schools in the province.

He said the elementary and secondary education minister would head the proposed regulatory body, while the E&SE, establishment and administration secretaries would be its members and E&SE director its member-cum-secretary.

Mr Ghani said in addition to the government’s representatives, the authority would have four representatives of private schools and two of parents, while the government would name two education experts for it for a period of three years.

He said the proposed watchdog would register and regulate private schools, supervise their curriculum and teaching methods, determine their fees after categorisation, and curricular activities and ensure that private schools observe summer, winter and spring vacation in tandem with public sector ones.

The spokesman said the authority would advise the private sector on investment in education sector and make guidelines and criteria for setting up educational institutions and guidance.

He said the authority would also frame terms and conditions under which a school could be opened and operated.

He said the authority would also monitor schools performance and it would also have the powers to categorise private schools while keeping institutions educational standards and facilities in view and also determine a fee structure for the educational institutions.

He said that the authority would also have powers to accept or reject, private schools request for increasing fees and in this regard would keep an eye on inflation rate.

Mr Ghani said that the authority would setup district scrutiny committees after consultation with the provincial government. The authority would also have powers to form educational, administrative, financial, technical and special committees under the provisions of the act, which in turn would carry out their ordained functions accordingly.

Interestingly, the bill providing for setting up the authority would be placed before the provincial assembly for the second time since 2012.

Earlier towards the end of its tenure, the ANP-led government tabled similar bill in the assembly. However, on account of opposition from the powerful private school lobby, the bill remained stuck in the house until the completion of the government’s tenure.

The cabinet also approved amendments to the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1969 making it mandatory for all kinds of vehicles to secure fitness certificate before using roads.

The amendment to Schedule 13 also fixed the passenger death compensation at Rs200,000 and that of injured passengers at Rs10,000 like other parts of the country.

The cabinet also approved the KP Wildlife and Biodiversity (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act 2015, provision of 20 percent allowance to the employees of KP Public Service Commission, the naming of the Abbottabad Public Library after Hazara khateeb Maulana Mohammad Ishaq, and provision of Rs52 million grant to the Dost Welfare Foundation.

By Manzoor Ali Published in Dawn

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