ISLAMABAD: The government has not addressed the need for schools in the federal capital in the proposed budget for the financial year 2017-18.

The budget has earmarked Rs91 million for the establishment of two new educational institutions- Islamabad Model College for Girls G-13/1 and Islamabad Model School for Boys G-15- when a recent survey by area education officers of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) says the capital city is short of 60 schools.

According to sources, the FDE tried its best to get funds in this budget for seven new primary schools in various parts of the capital which were approved by the Departmental Development Working Party in 2014 but for which funds were not set aside.

This year too, the federal government did not set aside any funds for these schools.

The proposed schools include Islamabad Model School I-8/2, IMSB B-17, Multi Garden, IMSB F-17, IMS Rawal Town, IMS Ghora Shahan, IMS Model Town Humak and IMS Pak PWD Housing Colony. The FDE also wanted to establish IMCBs in Margalla Town and Pakistan Town.

“We have forwarded our schemes to the ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) for approval. I don’t know why most of our schemes were not approved,” said FDE Director General Hasnat Qureshi.

He agreed that there is need for opening new schools across the city but was quick to add that the FDE could ask the federal government for supplementary grants for opening new schools.

The last time a new government school was opened in the federal capital was in 2011. The federal government, which is executing the Prime Minister’s Education Reform Programme worth more than Rs4 billion, seems to only be focusing on bringing improvements to the physical infrastructure in the existing 423 educational institutions in the capital and the opening of new schools was also not part of the reform package.

“The government will have to focus on the issue if it wants to ensure students have easy access to schools. The number of religious seminaries in the city is increasing but the government is not opening new schools,” an FDE official said.

In the new proposed budget, the government allocated Rs5.188 billion for CADD’s ongoing and new projects of which nine are for education.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2017