ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has initiated a probe into possible anti-competitive behavior behind the sharp increase in fees being charged by private schools in the country. The probe has been initiated after concerns were raised by the general public, especially parents, that private schools increase the school fees exorbitantly every year without any justification, particularly without any corresponding increase in quality of education.
In the first phase of the investigation, crucial information regarding the entities involved in the schooling business is being gathered. Information pertaining to school fee increases in the last three years has been called from various private schools, and it is expected that CCP will soon have all the relevant information and data required to take strict action as per the Competition Act, 2010 (the ‘Act’). Through the investigation, CCP will determine whether the fee raise in private schools all over the country is a result of anti-competitive practices such as cartelization or abuse of dominance, or otherwise.
It is pertinent to mention here that Section 3 of the Act that deals with abuse of dominance prohibits unreasonable increase in prices by dominant market players, while Section 4 of the Act that pertains to prohibited agreements bars collective fixing of prices by competitors. Once the process is completed, CCP may impose substantial penalties on any undertaking involved in anti-competitive behavior in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
CCP encourages the general public to further assist it in the ongoing investigation. Anyone who wishes to lodge a complaint or provide evidence of anti-competitive behavior can contact CCP through email <[email protected]> or over the telephone <051-9100289>. Contact details are also listed on CCP’s website <www.cc.gov.pk>.
CCP is mandated by the Act to enforce the prohibitions against anti-competitive practices in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behavior. CCP is committed to enforce the provisions of the Act in letter and spirit without fear and favor across all formal and informal sectors of the economy.