Schools not so important for Punjab government

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No-Money-edited copyThe missing facilities in thousands of schools across the province are likely to remain missing, evident from the meager Rs 35 million released to the School Education Department against Rs 7,000 million requested by the department, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to a Punjab government report there were 26,904 girls schools and 10,450 boys schools (mostly in South Punjab) which lacked basic facilities including clean drinking water, toilets, boundary walls and electricity. The estimated cost of these facilities was Rs 1.5 billion and Rs 2billion, respectively.
However, a senior official of the Planning and Development department (P&D) on the condition of anonymity revealed that the actual plan also mentioned additional class rooms in many schools, which bore most of the cost of the Rs 7.5 billion project.
“The government has decided to siphon off this component and include only less expensive ones so that they can show to the donors and stakeholders later, having provided the missing facilities in all schools,” the official added.
The issue of missing facilities and exorbitant illiteracy in the province invited a lot of ire from international donors and stakeholders who pressed upon the government during the last tenure to declare an ‘educational emergency’.
The project of providing missing facilities was designed to improve the school dropout situation. However, the facilities still remain missing while the government released nothing substantial in the first quarter of the fiscal year for the project.
School Education Department Secretary Abdul Jabar Shaheen recently wrote a letter to the chief minister explaining the ‘indifference of the high-ups’.
The letter mentioned an earlier letter written on July 8 to the P&D Department to release Rs 7 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year so that the project could be completed on a priority basis. However, on July 31 the P&D advised the Finance Department to release only Rs 35 million, which was “a mere 0.5 percent of the requisite amount”.
It further reads that the government released only Rs 6.7 billion against an allocated amount of Rs 15 billion for schools in Punjab the previous year.
The priorities of the Punjab government are evident from the list of fund releases in the first quarter of the ongoing financial year. Roads got the maximum share of Rs 4.7 billion followed by Rs 4.6 billion for irrigation.
“It seems the government is more interested in releasing funds for those projects which involve heavy purchasing and tenders, while putting the ones involving direct public goods on the back burner,” another official said on anonymity.
Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Education Minister Rana Mashud and P&D Chairman Irfan Ilahi were all unavailable when contacted for comments.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Publicity value in schools is higher therefore politicians cannot pretend that they are unimportant. Otherwise politicians don’t give a damn about schools. Lets face going to school does not get anyone a decent job. They teach no skills and about all that one can do with an education is watch TV in Urdu

  2. But teachers are teaching to students in these critical situation .. They are busy in whole year in UPE/USE Election duties , Mardam Shumaree, Khana Shumaree but their results are now above board.

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