Private schools in Pakistan directed to slash 20 percent fee amid COVID-19 lockdown

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-08 20:27:29|Editor: xuxin
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ISLAMABAD, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's east Punjab and south Sindh provinces have directed private schools to give a concession of 20 percent in school fees as all educational institutes are closed across the country due to COVID-19, officials said on Wednesday.

Murad Raas, minister for school education of Punjab said that in order to provide relief to parents during the lockdown, the government has taken the initiative to make owners of private schools slash fees, and charge parents on monthly basis rather than taking quarterly fees in advance.

The owners of schools have also been required to pay salaries to staff in time, and they have been barred from firing any staff members during the lockdown period, he said.

The education department of Sindh has issued similar directives to the private school administration and told parents to complain through telephone lines specified by the government in case of any violation by school owners.

However, the All Pakistan Private Schools' Federation, the representative body of private schools in the country, rejected the government's order, saying that they themselves are facing financial crisis due to the sudden lockdown and slashing of fees will push them into further financial constraint.

Schools across the country are closed till May 31 due to the spike of COVID-19 cases. In a conversation with Xinhua, Raas said that the education department is taking urgent steps to face the uncertain situation, and slashing school fees is a part of it, adding that they will take strict action against the schools which do not abide by the orders of the government.

According to the latest data released by the country's health ministry on Wednesday, 4,072 people have been tested positive of COVID-19 so far in Pakistan out of which 58 lost their lives and 467 recovered and were discharged from hospitals.