ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to revise the criteria and policy for allotment of school plots for shifting of private schools from residential areas.
The CDA also decided to take Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) on board before finalising the new policy for allotment of plots for private schools and shifting of the private schools.
According to CDA’s existing by-laws, private schools cannot operate in residential areas. But in violation of the bylaws, currently over 350 schools are operating in residential houses.
CDA decides to take FDE and Peira on board before finalising criteria
To discuss the issue, a meeting was held at the CDA headquarters with member planning Dr Shahid Mahmood in the chair. Member estate Khushal Khan, director planning FDE Tanveer Ahmed, officers of FDE and Peira attended the meeting.
The meeting discussed various proposals as how schools can be shifted from residential areas and how their owners should be allotted plots.
Sources in the CDA said the civic agency was determined to revise its policy of 2002 which has many loopholes. Plots allotted under the policy in 2007-8 drew criticism resulting in the cancellation of 17 out of the total 19 plots allotted to private schools.
“The meeting discussed different suggestions and parameters to be opted regarding shifting of private schools operating in residential premises,” said a statement issued by the CDA.
It added that the criteria regarding allotment of school plots were formulated in 2002 which needed a revision and an update to make it more transparent and result oriented.
All stakeholders would submit their suggestions within one week so that a consolidated, transparent and well defined policy could be finalised.
It said consolidated database would be formulated which would have details about the number of schools, number of enrolments in the respective school, size of the premises being used and the area where these institutes are being operated.
“After receiving data from Peira and FDE, the size of available plots to be allotted would be reviewed. For this purpose, FDE and Peira were requested to provide data to the CDA within a week,” said the statement.
CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said during the meeting the FDE was asked for immediate construction of schools on plots allotted to it. “It was also suggested that in most of the government schools, sufficient space was still under-utilised. Therefore, FDE will be requested to take up the matter at their competent forum so that some private institutes could be accommodated in these un-utilised spaces.”
He said it was also proposed that private schools would be allowed to operate evening classes on premises of government educational institutes where only morning classes were held. It was also proposed that capacity enhancement in existing building structures of educational institutes may also be considered.
“Peira was also asked to share the parameters and criteria for registering any private school. Next meeting in this context will be held in a fortnight,” the statement said.
According to existing rules, private schools cannot be operated in residential areas. In 2018, the planning and building control directorates recommended allowing pre-schools in residential areas but a final decision could not be taken.
In H-8, the CDA had allotted a large number of amenity plots to private schools against nominal charges. However, a few years ago the CDA changed its policy under which plots would be openly auctioned. Now, proposals are being made to develop new criteria for allotment of school plots.
Private school owners have been pleading that 20 years ago there were 393 government schools and colleges and now the number had reached only 423. During this period, the population of the capital city increased five times but the government did not establish schools as per the requirement of the population.
As a result, the private schools filled the gap, so there should be an amicable solution to the issue of non-conforming use of residential buildings as schools, they demanded.