We are back again with the minister of school Education Mr. Murad Raas with another informative and honest interview.

Are the fees being reduced?

They will reduce it by 20% there is no doubt about it. Will be announced soon. Whoever doesn’t not have the revised fee challans do not pay. Wait for the announcement and then pay it

If we don’t pay the fees we will be changed with fine for the late fees?

We are introducing a helpline where people can reach out and tell us problems like this and then we can take it up with the school ourselves.

If we have already paid the fees then what?

Well in that case the fee of the next month will be incorporated in the extra money you have paid this month.

Are teachers safe from being laid off?

We are introducing this number for exactly such issues. I personally feel so disappointed by the working of these private schools that they are earning so well from their schooling businesses with the support of the parents and teachers. They have gotten to where they are because of parents and teachers and now under these crucial circumstances when they are requested to reduce only 20% fees they are not willing. I hope they could be a little more empathetic.

According to the law can the schools fire the teachers in these circumstances?

Well they shouldn’t.

Online classes are still going on where are the summer holidays?

Well it could be one of the both online classes and summer homework. We are still deciding. But they are fine in keeping the kids busy. And schools are starting from 1st June.

Do the same rules apply to all the schools?

Yes private schools, trust schools all of the schools have to follow the rules.

Parents with 3 to 5 children are already having a tough time with businesses down and jobs, how are they suppose to pay the fees?

We are trying to do the best we can. Let’s start with 20% and let’s see where we can go from there.

Where does Aitchison College stand?

Aitchison College also will follow the same rules.

Why are the teachers giving online classes? They need a break also!

We don’t want to apply such strict laws for the schools. If they want to give summer homework they can, if they want to do online classes they can but I request the schools to promote the kids from preschool to grade 8 regardless of the exams or work.

Court decision for reduction of fees has still not been implemented why?

It’s still in court.

If children are not getting summer holidays, are doing online classes in these holidays and then starting school form 1st June then when are these poor kids getting a break?

Its ok if they study a little extra. Its only good for them.

Will the timing for the school starting in June be changed considering it will be very hot?

Yes we are deciding upon that. We will sit again with Scaryammi and discuss the issue. We will decide 2 weeks before 1 June and then announce.

Is it possible to set a limit to school fees? From 800rs to a whopping 50grand is being charged from different schools.

I’m bringing a new act which will take some time with approvals from Cabinets and Ministers so that all such issues can be sorted.

Will we pay more than 1 month fee at the moment?

NO!  Every school will only take one month’s fees each month!

Can you make sure the teachers are given full salaries and on time?

Yes this shall be done in written. inshAllah. Don’t worry.

Why did the two minister behave like loggerheads and made a complete loophole of the situation. One waived off the fees while the other allowed whatever fees to be charged later on?  Why did this happen?

Please ask the Chief Justice.

Some schools harass kids if the fees are not paid. What to do about that?

Please let us know as soon as that happens. We will deal with it immediately.

Do army public schools fall under your domain?

Yes they shall all follow the same rules.

Why are you promoting schooling which is becoming a barrier between of the rich and the poor?

We want to make sure that the basics are the same in all schools. This is a new era and we are trying to bring out a better environment.

Some kids don’t have internet, some don’t have electricity, some don’t have laptops; why are you discriminating between the rich and poor by promoting this online class routine ?

We have started the new channel called ‘Taleem Ghar’ which I have already mentioned in my previous interview. It is working 24/7 and all subjects are featured on that channel which is aired on our normal cable TVs for everyone to have easy access. It’s already up and running.

People who want to change schools will the admission tests be different?

There will be regular admissions tests.

While u are giving us this leverage and trying your best in all aspects, can something please be done about school packs that tend to be around 10k and above?

Please one issue at a time. We will definitely help you out. Don’t worry.

From school point of view are you helping the schools out also in these circumstances?

If it is a new independent initiative who are having problems, we will definitely help.

Can you ensure that private schools who are charging an arm and a leg all have the same basic necessities like a playground, computers, schools trips or sports facilities etc?

Please give us some time I really want to get some things done. It’s a broken system and we need to fix it first. We need time and money but we will fix it. Inshallah.

I’m from Karachi, can I watch Taleem Ghar or is it just for Punjab?

No you can, I can share the link on Scaryammi and you can take it from there.

Can I apply for a job in Taleem Ghar? What is the procedure?

I can share the details on Scaryammi and you can check there.

When is the expected announcement regarding the schools and fees going to be aired?

In the next few days Inshallah.

Will schools take precautions in view of corona?

This is the first time we are going through this. It is new for everyone. Every will have to be proactive the kids, the parents, the schools everyone.

The Cambridge exam taking students might be wasting a whole year amidst this pandemic? Can you pull some strings?

This is a global pandemic and everyone is going through the same problems not just Pakistan. But we are still discussing this.

Can teachers be hired on the basis of degrees and merits for a change?

For the first time in the history of Pakistan we are introducing teacher’s license just like a doctor’s license in order to give the same respect that is given to doctors and lawyers to be given to teachers as well.

Why did you kick out all the board members of the Punjab education foundation?

The reason is there were a lot of inconsistencies found in the foundation. I can’t put up with any inconsistencies. The board itself wasnt incompetent but they were responsible for the actions being taken in the department and they should’ve known what was going on.  It’s about time we change the system and hold accountable people for their responsibilities.  The investigation is still going on further into this case.

Is this fee reduction order in Punjab or Baluchistan also? We in Baluchistan are paying the full fees to the schools.

This initiative has been taken by Punjab and Punjab is giving its people the most relief.  Let’s hope other provinces also catch up.

Why aren’t these laws being implemented nationwide?

Because after the 18th amendment all the provinces are free to run their departments how they see fit for their people.

Are there any rights for the teachers as we are always discussing parents and schools?

I have introduced the most relief for teachers more than anybody else. But it’s different for public and private school teachers.

Any special plans to combat corona like disinfecting the streets etc?

Yes we have put chlorine in the fire trucks which is really aiding in disinfecting in this situation.

Please take care of the teachers they have no job security, no fixed salary etc.

Yes we are taking care of the public school teachers and we pay them really well too.  I’m working towards the private school teachers as well. You all just have to wait a little longer.

Why aren’t teachers being rewarded for their services just like doctors and lawyers etc?

We have given awards all year round to teachers. 2019 to 2020 has been the year for teachers. The effort this government has put into giving relief to teachers and to give them due respect, no other government has done so much before. I had a discussion with the Prime Minister of Pakistan before this Covid-19 epidemic and we were sending a Pakistani nominee for an international teacher’s award for the first time in the history of Pakistan. We will continue with is as soon as we come out of this pandemic. Inshallah

Amna Batool

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