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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Ombudsman on Friday directed the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to take steps for the construction of the 15-year-old Ghora Shahan Islamabad project.

Land was allotted for the project – the construction of a school – in 2002, but construction has not begun until today.

The project was initiated by the education ministry, and was shifted to CADD after the devolution of education under the 18th amendment.

A group of residents from Ghora Shahan led by Ghulam Yasin Awan and others had filed a petition before the Federal Ombudsman.

In his judgement on the petition, Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz said: “Considerable delay and failure on the part of the agency to allocate necessary funds for this important project in social development sector constitutes mal-administration on part of the agency.”

The judgement stated: “Education being a national cause of vital importance, the Secretary CADD is advised to take up the issue with the Planning Division on priority basis so that revised PC-1 of the project is approved, necessary funds are allocated and civil works are commissioned on this project for prime importance to help promote cause of education and to disseminate knowledge among the illiterate to improve literacy rate in the area.”

The ombudsman directed the concerned authorities to submit a compliant report within a month.

The FDE and CADD have not much progress on opening new schools and colleges in the last few years in Islamabad.

FDE officials have said 17 new schools and colleges are required in the capital. In 2009, the PC-1 for a primary school in I-8 was approved by the Departmental Working Party (DWP).

In 2014, the PC-1 for seven more schools – primary schools in the Loi Bher Housing Socirty, Multi-Garden Housing Society, B-17, F-17, Rawal Town, Ghora Shahan and Humak Zimini – was approved by the DWP.

FDE documents showed that the PC-1 for five others schemes have been sent to the planning commission, and their approval is awaited. These institutions are the Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) G-13, the Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG) G-13, IMCB Margalla Town, IMCB Pakistan Town and IMCB Jammu Kashmir Housing Society.

The PC-1 for IMCG I-10, IMCB Commerce College G-13, IMCB Degree College G-13/3 and IMCG G-13/4 are also to be approved.

“What to talk about opening new institutions; we have several institutions that were opened many years ago, but the planning wing still could not get their PC-4 approved for the appointment of staff,” an FDE official said.

The new institutions are being run by staff borrowed from other colleges. They include IMCG I-8/3, Degree College Sihala, Degree College I-14, Degree College Humak and others.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2018