Pakistan’s Supreme Court Defies Economic Reality- School Fees Must Be Cut

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Given the still visible colonial imprint upon Pakistan we’d expect the Supreme Court Justices to be aware of the Canute and the waves story but apparently not as this ruling on private school fees demonstrates. For they’ve issued a ruling which entirely flies in the face of the tides and currents of economic reality. Cut your fees but don’t you dare go cutting any of your expenses!

Do note that this is nothing to do with whether there should be private schools or not, nor whether some method of making them cheaper might be possible. It’s purely about the specific court order that has been made:

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday issued detailed verdict of a case pertaining to reduction of private school fees. On December 13, a three-judge bench of the apex court had ordered 20 percent decrease in the fee being charged by all the private schools all over the country and ordered them to return the 50 percent fee being charged in the summer vocation.

That school fees are regulated by the Supreme Court is a little odd to start with. But then there’s this:

The judgement stated that fee reduction would not affect scholarships and other facilities nor would school owners cut the salaries of teachers, according to Geo News.

Would not? Or the language might have been stronger:

It has also stopped schools from cutting the salaries of teachers. The impact of this order will not fall on students’ scholarships or facilities provided to them, ordered the Supreme Court.

Must not?

Recall that Canute ordered the tides not to come in to show fawning courtiers that there are powers unavailable even to a King. Just as it is not possible for court rulings to deny economics. The schools cannot cut any of their major costs, but must cut their revenue by 20%? This in a place with 5,000 such schools, so there are no monopoly profits being made?

Not going to work, is it? And not just not going to work, not going to happen.

It is, of course, possible to ponder why there are so many private schools, why doesn’t everyone use the government provided free ones? Because they’re even worse….

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timworstallUmair Ahmed ShaikhPat Recent comment authors
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Pat

Perhaps the objective is to close the private schools. This allowing the state to determine what is taught.

Umair Ahmed Shaikh
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Umair Ahmed Shaikh

Tim, You are just showing the world one side of the picture and that is also from a school owners’ perspective. It would have been good if you had take the point of views of the parents who actually approached the courts to bring the private schools under regulations. I am one of the parents who initially submitted the petition in 2015 in Sindh High Court as we have been aggrieved by fee increase by private schools at exorbitant rates. First of all, let me tell you that Government Schools setup in Pakistan had collapsed in last 20 – 25… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

Wheat and grain prices aren’t regulated in most capitalist economies. Nor, often enough, are the prices of medicines. What the State pays for them, yes, that’s regulated, but not what the public pays for all medicines.

As to the idea of detailed regulation of private schools and their prices. The government are the people who run the public schools, yes? The government are the people who have made those public schools so terrible that no one wants to send their children there? And these are the same people you want regulating the private schools?