Govt fails to provide transportation facilities to educational institutes in ICT


ISLAMABAD: The government’s plan to provide best transportation facilities to the students studying in 423 educational institutes running under Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has failed to get the desired results mainly due to ill-planning and lack of will.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had announced back on December 11, 2015, that 200 new buses would be provided to the schools and colleges in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) in order to end their miseries and provide them with a comfortable and safe journey.

He made the announcement at the launching ceremony of the much-trumpeted prime minister’s education reforms programme, a brainchild of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, at Islamabad Model School for Girls, Panjgaran.

Nawaz Sharif on the occasion also announced that all the 422 schools and colleges in the capital will be upgraded and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities under the programme.

However, despite a lapse of over two years, the government has provided only 70 buses to various educational institutes, and there is a little chance of providing another bus since no allocation has been made in this regard.

A senior official requesting anonymity told Pakistan Today that the government has no resources to run the 70 buses so it’s a distant dream that they’ll provide 130 more buses to the educational institutes.

He said that the government representatives at various forums repeatedly claimed that the buses would be provided to the educational institutes. However, all such statements and announcements are mere eyewash because the reality is different as there are no funds available for this purpose at all.

Another official said that the drivers are leaving their jobs because they are being paid a mere Rs15,000, which is not sufficient even feed them. He added that the government has set ambitious target sans any planning and homework due to which the government is currently facing embarrassment for its failure of not achieving any target under the much-hyped PM’s education reforms programme.

The official further said that a driver could earn more through a taxi so why would they do their job with such a meagre salary as no other incentives are being given to them, and there is no chance of making their jobs permanent.

When contacted, FDE DG Hasnat Qureshi, in his written reply, said that the contract is being awarded to the same company Isuzu for remaining 130 buses after completion of formalities, which he said stood lowest in tender again. However, he added that the delivery would take 3-4 months.

To a question about drivers’ salaries, FDE DG said that driver salary is certainly very low, and a summary has been sent to the PM for raising their salary to Rs25,000.

He, however, he skipped answering the question that drivers were leaving their jobs due to low pay, and besides salary what incentives are being given to the drivers.

Qureshi also said that all buses are functional and there is no shortage of funds for fuel. He, however, did not disclose that how much funds have been released under the head of fuel charges.