Reform programme faces funds shortage
The fate of the ongoing second phase of the Prime Minister’s Education Reform Programme hangs in the balance as the government refused to release the required funds in the current fiscal year.
“An amount of Rs845 million, which we had surrendered in the previous financial year, have not been released to us again. Now we are unable to complete the project by the end of this month. It will face a delay of several months as funds under the next budget are expected to be released in August,” said Project Director Waqas Farid of CADD.
The lapsed amount of Rs845 million have now been made a part of the upcoming Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) whose first installment is likely to be released in August, he added.
The project has also been facing a probe by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as there were allegations of corruption. However, Minister for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chauhdry rejected the allegations.
“We did nothing wrong in the project. After adopting a proper procedure, the construction work in schools was carried out. We purchased buses for schools through open competitions and even at lower prices compared to other government departments,” the minister told Dawn.
An official of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) claimed that substandard work was carried out in many schools.
He also claimed that two schools in Chirah, which were not a part of the PC-1 of 200 schools, were face-lifted at a cost of about Rs40 million. But the project director defended the quality of work.
When asked why the two schools were face-lifted in the constituency of the CADD minister, the director claimed that two schools in the PC-I that also fell in the same area were excluded as they were being operated in rented buildings.
In place of these, the two schools were included in the project after taking approval of the CADD steering committee.
Under the reform programme, all 423 educational institutions were to be face-lifted and repaired. In the first phase, 23 institutions were renovated while the ongoing second phase is facing a delay because of a shortage of funds.
As per plan, in the third phase, the remaining 200 schools were to be face-lifted.
The government had allocated Rs2.7bn for the second phase out of which Rs1.7bn were released in the current budget.
Drive to enroll one million children
Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Mohammad Balighur Rehman inaugurated a campaign to enroll one million out of school children.
The Ministry of Federal Education launched the drive in collaboration with the American Refugee Committee (ACR) and the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation.
Addressing as chief guest at the launching ceremony at the Academy of Educational Planning and Management, the minister said due to the steps taken by the government the number of out of school children had dropped and enrollment increased in the country.
He said it was appreciable that the ACR and EAF foundation had launched a programme to enroll one million out of school children in Pakistan.
He said paying special attention towards non-formal education was also vital.
Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2018