School owners demand subsidy in wake of fee cut law


KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday extended its stay order restraining private schools across the province from expelling any children over non-payment of tuition fee.

A two-judge bench of the high court was hearing a petition moved by owners of private schools challenging the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020.

Over the course of the hearing, a lawyer representing the petitioners called for the Sindh government to give subsidy to private schools if it wants a 20 per cent reduction in tuition fees.

The judges were informed that many parents are unable to pay complete school fees of their children due to the coronavirus lockdown. The hearing was adjourned till June 10.

At the previous hearing, the bench had turned down a request by the petitioners to restrain the provincial government from taking any adverse action against them over non-compliance of its directives with regard to a 20 per cent fee cut.

A counsel for the petitioners stated before the judges that the Sindh government has made it mandatory for private schools to charge 80 per cent of the total monthly fee without taking into account the financial impact its decision will have on schools.

He pleaded with the bench to declare the decision of a 20 per cent reduction in school fees void.

On May 15, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail had approved the Corona Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020 to provide relief to the people of the province amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The ordinance was sent to the governor after approval of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for signature.

Under the ordinance, a landlord shall defer or suspend the recovery of rent payments under Rs50,000 and slash by 50 per cent if a rent amount is Rs100,000. It shall not apply in case where the owner is a widow, differently-abled person and senior citizen.

No educational institution shall charge more than 80 per cent of the total monthly fees. No employee or worker shall be terminated or removed as the employers will be bound to pay salary to their employers.