PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has diverted Rs30 million funds meant for the development of public sector higher secondary schools in the province to Maulana Samiul Haq’s Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary in Nowshera, sources claim.
The government had allocated Rs1.7 billion in the current fiscal year for providing higher secondary schools with basic facilities.
Sources told Dawn that of those funds, Rs695 million was diverted to Swat district two months ago before the government gave away another Rs30 million to the Darul Uloom Haqania, leaving little for the schools’ development.
Rs695m already given to Swat from Standardisation of Higher Secondary Schools project
They said the government had so far released Rs900 million to the elementary and secondary education department for the Standardisation of Government Higher Secondary Schools project.
The sources said of the Rs695 million funds diverted to Swat, Rs116 million would be spent on higher secondary schools, while the rest had gone to road and irrigation schemes.
The provision of funds to Darul Uloom Haqqania by the previous PTI government for its development had caused uproar.
The Standardisation of Government Higher Secondary Schools initiative was launched in the 2015-16 financial year.
Under it, the government had selected 200 schools across the province for providing them with necessary facilities at the cost of Rs9.8 billion.
The scheme provides for the establishment of separate labs for physics, chemistry and biology subjects, construction of examination halls and additional classrooms, beautification of the schools, supply of electricity and water, and construction of washrooms.
Until now, work on only 72 of the selected schools has been completed at a cost of Rs3.7 billion, sources said.
Sources said the previous PTI government had allocated Rs460 million for Darul Uloom Haqqania’s development before releasing Rs28 million in July 2018.
They said as the seminary asked for more funds, the government diverted the higher schools’ budgetary allocations for the purpose.
The officials of the education department expressed ignorance about the development and said the money would’ve been diverted by the planning and development department in the recent re-appropriation of funds.
An official said the P&D department didn’t cut the money out of Rs900 million funds already released to the education department for higher secondary schools.
He said the P&D department hadn’t informed the education department about the funds diversion to the Nowshera seminary.
The official said usually, the P&D department ‘avoided’ informing the relevant department about the ‘cutting down’ of the unreleased funds.
Adviser to the chief minister on elementary and secondary education Ziaullah Bangash had expressed ignorance 10 days ago when asked about the funds’ diversion.
“Let me get details (of the matter) from the quarters concerned and get back,” he had told Dawn.
However, Mr Bangash neither took this correspondent’s call on Tuesday nor did he respond to a text message sent to his cellphone number.
Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2019