Private educational institutions made education a commercial commodity

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By Mudassar Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, 16 Dec (APP): The staggering increase in number of private schools and academies in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad shows that education sector has rapidly becoming one of the leading commercialized sectors of the country.

It seems to become a common phenomenon that private institutions are often being administrated by local businessmen who make tall claims for giving quality education and attract people by using novel techniques of publicity.

It has also become almost impossible for a common citizen to afford the fee of these institutions as it is usually on a higher side.

“It is a fact that quality teachers teach in all the renowned academies, schools and one can get good marks while studying there but the fee is very high and a middle-class person cannot afford it,” said Fahad, a student of intermediate at a federal model college.

For a person who is living in Islamabad has to manage a lot of things as everything is very expensive here. So it can become difficult for a person to pay school fee as well as academy fee.

Tariq Mehmood, a resident of G-10/4 said he was a government servant and get a fixed salary per month but have to pay the fee of his children twice a month, once for the school and then for academy as well which was a very difficult task for him, but he has to do it for the sake of his children’s bright future.

Private schools had an added advantage that they could design their own curriculum which was often compatible to international standards and a student could learn a lot from it, said Sobia, a teacher of a private school.

“However, a deserving student who can perform very well by getting quality education cannot get admission in such schools due to their fee structure,” she added.

The federal government recently took an initiative according to which PIERA (Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority) cannot raise the fee by their own and they will have to take permission from the Prime Minister if they want to do the same, said Javed Intazar, Chairman PIERA.

He said as far as the private academies were concerned, they had set a standard fee per subject which was low and an average family could afford it, adding, about 65% of the academy fee goes to the teacher which is why every professional teacher is willing to do a job in the academy.

Private academies had professional teachers for every subject which was an attractive point for both parents and students, Javed added.

He said the strength of students in government schools and colleges was often very high which affect the quality of education and force parents to get their children enrolled in private academies in search of quality education.

The burgeoning of these private schools and academies together with the competition among them has, however, compel them to deliver in order to maintain their standard and attract more students.

In the race of scoring high marks for getting admission in medical colleges and engineering universities, the students get themselves enrolled in these academies as normally best teachers of the town teach there.

Taj Nabi Khan, a working journalist said students opt for academy due to lack of quality education and professionalism in most of the educational institutions. So the schools should take some steps to improve their standard of education.

If schools would provide better quality of education, hire specialists  for every subject and set a standard strength of a class then it would be easy for the students to understand each and every bit of the lecture and they would not move towards the academies, he added.