Joint body soon to regulate private educational institutions

PESHAWA: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is mulling over establishing a joint regularity authority to streamline, supervise and regulate functioning of the private educational institutions, officials say.The authority in pipeline would jointly oversee the affairs of the private higher, elementary and secondary and technical educational institutions in the province.Currently, private universities and colleges are checked and registered by “Higher Education Regulatory Authority (HERA)” while separate regulatory authorities for private schools are established at the eight boards for intermediate and secondary education.The HERA and regulatory authorities at the level of boards were set up under The North West Frontier Province Registration and Functioning of Private Educational Institutions Ordinance 2001.“Actually the existing regularity authorities are unable to deliver accordingly and the respective education departments have been demanding since long to redesign the structure and power of them aimed at putting these private educational institutions in the right directions,” officials say.The new authority would be established under a bill, to be tabled in the provincial assembly soon. The draft copy of the bill is already prepared. The Act is likely to be called the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Registration and Functioning of Private Educational Institutions Act 2011.The decision set up a joint authority was taken by Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti during a cabinet meeting in which elementary and secondary education and technical education departments had sought approval for establishment of authorities to regulate the respective private educational institutions.The HERA has been demanding more power since long to put the universities and colleges across the province on the right tack.The joint regulatory authority would be empowered to seal the educational institutions for violation of rules, the officials said. The current authorities were not given the powers to seal educational institutions, they added.

The members of the new authority would also be increased because of additional responsibilities, they said.The regulatory body will have exclusive authority to register private educational institutions within its jurisdictions. “It will also resolve disputes among the government, board, university and registered institutions, or any issue pertaining to the staff or complaints of parents about fees, condition of buildings of the institutions and other related matters,” the drafted bill available with this correspondent revealed.The authority will be responsible for supervision and evaluation of the registered institutions within its jurisdiction in the manner determined by them, it added.Three different surveillance committees would be constituted under the new joint regulatory authority each for higher, E&SE and technical educational institutions.The members of the surveillance committee for private universities and colleges will include a nominee of the higher education department, not bellow grade-17; deputy registrar of the nearest university and principal of the government degree college, which is nearest to the place where the college in the private sector is being established.The committees will carry out periodic inspection for monitoring the performance of educational institutions.The members of the surveillance committee for schools will include nominee of E&SE department, not below grade-17; principal or headmaster of the government higher secondary school, which is nearest to the place where the school is being established and a representative of the regulatory authority.Similarly, the members of the surveillance committee for the technical educational institutions will include a representative of the regulatory authority; a nominee of the Technical Education Board or Trade Testing Board and head of the government technical institutions nearest to the place where the private technical institutions is being established – Dawn