The Sindh government on Friday restricted private schools from forcing parents to purchase uniforms and stationery items from the school or a specific shop and termed the practice "illegal" following the complaints received from parents and students.
In a notification issued by the Sindh Education Department, educational institutions are directed to not ask parents to purchase printed cover copies, registers, journals, uniforms, school bags, books, and other stationary items from the school or any particular shop.
The government also restricted the schools from asking parents to pay money for dresses, food items, or any events like mother's day, flower's day, colour day, mango day, or music day.
Reacting to the ban, parents and teachers appreciated the step taken by the government.
A teacher, who spoke to Geo.tv on the condition of anonymity, called it a "good decision" by the Sindh government and said that she agrees with it.
"However, rules and laws over here are sometimes on paper and not implemented. So, if it is implemented, then it is a very good act and parents are definitely going to appreciate that and agree with it," she said.
Ayesha Umair Khan, a mother of two living in the North Nazimabad area of the metropolis, called such rules by schools "absurd" and said that they are "very unreasonable".
"It is a very irrational approach because, at one end, you are asking parents for a hefty amount in the name of education. And then you are putting such conditions which are hitting below the belt," she said.
Ayesha, while speaking to Geo.tv, said that she is very happy that such practices have now been declared illegal. "Thanks to the government, it's better late than never. I am also happy with the fact that my kids are not associated with such a school which follows such preposterous rules and policies," she went on to say.
Muneeb-ul-Hassan, a schoolteacher from Karachi, said that as a parent, he agrees with the government's decision.
"Students all over Pakistan should have the freedom to buy books and uniforms from wherever they want to," he said, adding that the state should implement this law.
Following are the pointers mentioned in the notification:
Do not ask the parents to purchase printed cover copies, registers, journals etc. from the school or from any particular shop. Instead, the school may supply only the stickers showing the name of the school to the parents to be pasted on the cover of school copies, registers, or journals.
Do not compel the parents or students to purchase uniforms, school bags, books, and other stationary items from the school or any particular shop. The lists of school books, copies/registers, practical journals and other stationary items be issued to the students at the time of announcement of results/time of admission instead of asking them for money to purchase the said items from school so that they may purchase the same from open market on usual rates.
Do not ask the parents to pay money for dresses, food items, mother's day, flower's day, colour day, mango day, or music day.
The parents shall be issued monthly fee vouchers/challan to the students or collect monthly wise fees instead of quarterly/bimonthly. However, two months fee voucher may be issued to the parents who intend to deposit the fee for more than one month at their own discretion.
Collect only approved fees from the students. Display the approved fee on the school's notice board and reception as well as provide the same to the parents on demand to let the parents and students be aware of the same.
Students' uniforms shall not be changed before five years. The permission of this directorate is mandatory before changing the uniform.
Allow fee concession and award scholarships to at least 10% deserving and meritorious students of the total strength of the students, as per rule 13 of "The Sindh Educational Institutions (Regulation & Control) Ordinance-2001", Amendment Act-2003 and Rule-2005"
No student shall be expelled or punished such as keeping them in isolation, standing on benches, scolding and rebuking, or not allowed to sit in examination/test on the basis of nonpayment of the fee for the period of less than three months. Nonetheless, disciplinary action can be taken against the students for nonpayment of the fee for more than three months. In case of any complain lodge by the parents in the Directorate of Inspection and Registration of Private Institutions Sindh, against the school administration, their wards/students shall not be expelled from the school till the enquiry/investigation related to the complaint is finalised and the complaint is proved as baseless or detrimental.
No late fee shall be received from the students. Expulsion of any student from the school without necessary proceeding is prohibited. The parents shall be issued at least two warning letters and be given an opportunity to hear them in person before taking such action. In case of an unsatisfactory explanation of the parents, the names of their wards may, however, be struck off from the role of the school under the intimation to this directorate.
As per Rule 12, it is imperative for the school to constitute parents teachers association (PTA) representing both the parents and teachers which shall perform such functions as may be assigned it by the registering authority. The school will manage/conduct the meetings of the association on regular basis.