100 days on, KP govt yet to appoint minister for education


–CM’s advisor serving as part-time education guide despite PTI’s plans to reform social sector

LAHORE: Despite being in power for the last 100 days, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is yet to appoint full-time provincial ministers for elementary and secondary education department, and the higher education department.

KP’s Elementary and Secondary Education (KPESE) Department is the largest body of the province, both in terms of its employees and budget. In the previous government of chief minister Pervez Khattak, Atif Khan had held the portfolio of the minister for KPESE department. However, in the current government of KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Atif Khan has been given the portfolio of senior minister, leaving the education departments unattended.

The PTI has often touted its work in the KP’s education sector, especially in the primary and secondary education department, as examples of its governance model by spending a large amount of time and capital in a bid to put the operations in order.

However, on multiple occasions, both education departments have been caught with foot in mouth when they fabricated statistics for social media to hype up their performance, with the official department documents showing different figures to what the party was claiming in its advertisements.

While a minister is yet to be appointed for either of the departments, Special Advisor to the Chief Minister Ziaullah Bangash has been assigned the responsibility of looking after the departments. However, considering this as the largest department in the entire provincial government, there is still a lack of parliamentary oversight.

Moreover, Bangash was also not brought into the cabinet for the specific purpose, being simply inducted as a special advisor which is still listed as his portfolio on the official KP government’s website.

While 100 days have passed without the appointment of a proper minister, the CM’s special advisor has already made his own 100-day plan, recently saying that that the education department finalised a programme to improve the quality of education and bring further improvement in the system.

This indicates that the appointment of a designated minister for the department is not under any consideration for now.