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PESHAWAR: The Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department will spend Rs2.16 billion on capacity building of members of the parent-teacher councils (PTCs) and adopting measures to expedite the utilisation of its fund in the government schools of the province, according to officials.

Under the plan, which is in its initial stage of execution, about 227, 000 members of PTCs functioning in 28,500 government schools across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be trained on how to utilise funds and ensure quality in the development works executed through them.

“The PTC members will also be sensitised to their responsibilities,” a senior official in the education department told Dawn.

PTC is a school-based body comprising one elected parent of one of the enrolled students, one influential person of the area and administration of the respective school.

It executes civil works like construction of the additional classrooms, boundary wall, lavatories, electrification, purchase of furniture, classroom consumables, laboratory equipment, etc.

He said that the education department had hired the services of the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) for training of the PTCs. He said that the training of trainers had already started a few days ago.

The official said that the establishment of a call centre in the education department was also part of the plan so as to effectively utilise PTC funds.

The call centre will have entire data of the PTC funds and its members, he said. “It will be the call centre’s responsibility to contact PTC members regularly to update the education department about the fund utilisation,” he said.

Officials working at the centre will also encourage the PTCs to expedite fund utilisation in schools where the progress is slow, he said. “The call centre will be bound to contact the PTCs on daily basis and gather information about the progress of ongoing projects and funds utilisation,” he said.

When contacted, Minister Rs2bn for capacity building of PTCs for Elementary and Secondary Education Mohammad Atif Khan said that training of PTCs was very necessary in the current scenario as the government was spending a big amount of money through them for providing missing facilities in the government schools.

“The education department will utilise Rs8.5 billion through PTCs for adopting security arrangements in schools and providing missing facilities under different schemes,” the minister said.

He said that the additional construction work in schools carried out by the PTCs was better in quality and the execution faster than that of the communication and works department.

Other officials said that the education department had doubled the PTC funds from Rs1 million to Rs2 million for each school after the Dec 16 attack on Army Public School to accelerate infrastructure improvement in the schools, particularly construction of boundary walls to ensure security of staff and students.

Before 2011, all the missing facilities were provided in the government schools through the C&W department. However, slow pace of work and alleged misappropriation of funds forced the government to look for other options, they said.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2015

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