A private school in Peshawar prevented five students from sitting their annual Biology board exam for class 9 because they had not paid their fees and now the authorities have rescheduled the paper for the students and is making the school pay for the expense of holding the paper again.
Last Saturday, Model School 5 shut the five students in a room when the exam was being conducted on campus. The parents told Samaa Digital that they were being pressured to pay the fees or their children would not be allowed to sit the exam. Peshawar Model School is a chain of schools, colleges and a university.
One of the students, Farooq Umar's father Umar Siddique said that he was unable to pay the fee because his business had suffered because the border with Afghanistan was closed. He said there were ten students in a similar situation. According to him, the examiners were told that these students were actually "absent".
“A few of these students managed to escape from the ‘isolation room’ and left only five who could not make it to examination centre," he said.
Umar Siddique said he was frustrated because his son's future was at stake and as he had no other way to address the issue he decided to go to social media.
“The PA of Shahram Tarakai who is the KP education minister contacted me after he saw my video on social media and assured me that the missed paper would be rescheduled and my son needed to be ready for it,” he said.
Siddique already had deposited Rs35,000 in school fees and had about Rs19,000 left to pay.
The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISEP) and the other body responsible for the affairs of private schools took swift action after the intervention of the education ministry and assured the parents that the school would be held responsible.
Principal Mrs Mansoor confirmed that this had indeed happened but she held an accountant of the school responsible for it. Accountant Mr Zulfikar handled the affair badly and has been fired.
She said that the school would bear the expenses of holding the exam again and denied that the students were held in isolation. She said she would not even imagine doing something like that as some of her own students were sitting the paper.
“Students were sitting in front of me and I attempted to contact our director but he was inaccessible. It was actually a misunderstanding and the accountant was responsible for it,” she said.
She added that these students have been exempted from the fees for July and August.
Rescheduling an exam entails the cost of reprinting the paper and deputing examination staff.