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Govt schools no match to private ones

Updated August 31, 2013

PESHAWAR, Aug 30: This year’s results of the secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations conducted by the seven education boards in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have made it crystal clear that the standard of education imparted to students in government schools is far below than private institutions.

And this is despite the fact that the provincial government spends around one-fourth of the total education budget on the elementary and secondary education.

In the recent examinations, 15,752 students of private schools have achieved ‘outstanding’ grade (80 per cent or above marks), while only 860 students of government schools in the province could achieve this honour, according to data compiled from the gazettes of the seven education boards.

Similarly, 23,905 students of private schools made it to the ‘excellent’ position or category, getting 70 per cent or above marks as against the 7,440 government schools’ students in the same category.

The government high and higher secondary schools in the province numbering 2,325 failed to even compete with a single private school chain having nine branches as it has 1,254 students in ‘outstanding’ category.

There are 1980 high schools, including 647 for girls, and 345 higher secondary schools, of them 114 for girls, in the province.

The provincial government has allocated Rs87 billion only for the government schools in the budget 2013-14. Of this allocation, Rs56.4 billion has been earmarked for salaries, Rs4.1 billion for non-salary expenditure and Rs13.83 billion development expenditure. Similarly, Rs15 billion is allocated to other sectors of education, which are mostly pledged by different foreign donors, according to sources in the education department.

The students of that particular private school chain, who have more ‘outstanding’ and ‘excellent’ positions than the government schools across the province, pay Rs 2,400 monthly tuition fee while the government has been spending Rs2,300 on each student from grade-6 to intermediate level. As such, there is no such difference in the spending of money on the students of private and government schools, but a huge difference exists in their quality of education and results, the sources said.

The minimum salary of teachers in high and higher secondary school was not less than Rs30,000 and the senior teachers around Rs100,000 while the salaries of teachers in private high schools is between Rs10,000 and Rs20,000.

The teachers in government schools were more qualified and having higher professional trainings than teachers of private schools who were less educated and most of them without professional degrees.

The private schools are monitored by an individual, mostly the owner, while for monitoring and running the affairs of government schools there is a big secretariat on provincial level, a provincial directorate, district education offices, regional centres for teachers training. Still, students of the government schools are unable to compete with the students of private schools in examinations.

“Actually, the teachers of government schools just pass the time and do not perform duties,” said a teacher of a private school who has also worked in government school. The students of government schools would defiantly get positions in the SSC examinations if their teachers start hard work like private school teachers, he said.

An educationist opting anonymity told Dawn that political interference of elected representatives and their aides had paralysed the administrative heads of schools as they couldn’t punish teachers not performing their duties.

He said that the high and higher secondary schools had proper buildings and enough teaching staff, but loose administration was ruining the education process in these government institutions.