The much-trumpeted Prime Minister’s Education Sector Reforms Programme (PMESRP) initiated by Nawaz Sharif in December 2015 could face further delay due to Maryam Nawaz’s exit from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The project was the brainchild of Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and her departure from the PM’s House after Nawaz’ removal by Supreme Court would have negative impact on the project.
Maryam Nawaz, through a committee comprising few MNAs and the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) officials, was monitoring the project aimed at improving the infrastructure of 422 educational institutions functioning under the FDE.
A senior official said that in the beginning, she took immense interest in the project and it was expected that she would be brought about revolutionary changes in the education system, but soon she lost her interest in the project due to her growing interest in other affairs of the government.
He said that that was the reason the project could not take pace since the start and was going at snail space due to which the up-gradation of only 22 schools and colleges was completed so far.
However, he said that though the project had already been delayed and failed to the meet the set target, her exit from PM’s House could further delay the project.
The programme could play a decisive role in the forthcoming general elections, as the dwellers of the federal capital are facing great problems due to lack of facilities in educational institutions.
A senior official said that under the PMESRP, the up-gradation of 22 schools and colleges has been completed and work on 200 more educational institutions was in progress, while the rest would be upgraded in the third phase.
The official said that the work on the project was badly hampered because of the lapse of the fund amounting to Rs 1 billion last year, which he said that though re-allocated in the budget 2017-18.
In July, 2017, Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) sought release of funds amounting to Rs 1.970 billion for the first quarter of the fiscal year in order to the complete the ongoing projects timely.
The CADD Ministry in a letter to Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform demanded release of the total allocated funds of Rs 1742.000 million in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2017-18 for renovation/rehabilitation of physical infrastructure of 200 education institutions under the PMESRP in Islamabad during the first quarter so as to complete the work by September this year.
Interestingly, physical progress of the project is zero; but the ministry claimed that since the work has been awarded and civil work is planned to be completed by September 15, 2017.
The official said that the talks with the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry for the release of funds were underway and expressed optimism that the funds would be released soon.
He said it was good that Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry has been given the same portfolio again, as he would leave no stone unturned to complete the project since it is his own constituency or else he could face tough challenge to win the seat in the coming election.
CADD Secretary Nargis Ghalo could not be reached for her comments despite repeated phone calls and text messages.
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