SHC seeks details about operational and dysfunctional schools in Sindh

Published September 28, 2018
This file photo shows a view of the Sindh High Court.
This file photo shows a view of the Sindh High Court.

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the secretary of education and the managing director of the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) to file reports about details of operational and dysfunctional government schools in the province.

A two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar also directed both the officials to submit names of dysfunctional schools along with efforts made to make them functional.

The bench issued these directives on a set of petitions mainly seeking implementation of the Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2013. The law was promulgated after induction of Article 25A in the Constitution.

Cane commissioner ordered to personally appear before court to settle issue of growers’ dues

The counsel for petitioners argued that there were various provisions of the act which required immediate attention of government for smooth implementation of the law.

The managing director of the SEF, Naheed Shah Durrani, contended that efforts were being made for proper implementation of the law and during the last three years they had ensured “100 enrolments of students across Sindh”.

The bench said that according to a report 10,364 school buildings in Sindh were satisfactory, 18,838 needed repair, 6,375 were declared dangerous, and there was no information available about 319 schools with the education department.

Besides the MD SEF, Secretary Education Qazi Shahid Pervez was also present and the bench asked specific questions to both officials about the efforts made to recover schools building which were illegally occupied or encroached upon so that all schools may be utilised for the purpose of education in the province, especially in the rural areas.

The law also said that the government shall encourage enterprises, institutions and other segments of society by offering incentive to establish schools to facilitate free and compulsory education whereas privately owned and managed schools must also provide free education to least 10 per cent of their actual strength of students of the age of five years to 16 years, it added.

The secretary education replied that he had recently convened a meeting with private school management association and they were going to set some modalities for proper implementation to provide free education to the sanctioned students.

The bench directed both officials to file reports along with details of all government schools in the province which were in operation and if some schools were not operating for any reason, mention the names of such schools as well as efforts being made to make them functional.

Since the counsel for petitioners pointed out that some schools lack basic amenities, the bench asked the secretary to submit report whether or not proper facilities of water and electricity were available in all government schools in Sindh.

It also asked the MD to show compliance with a provision of the law that the government and local authorities, as the case may be, would establish schools where they were not so established within a period of two years from the commencement of this act.

Plea of sugar cane growers

The same bench directed the cane commissioner to decide the applications of sugar cane growers regarding non-payment of their dues.

The Sindh Growers’ Alliance and others moved the court and submitted that around 300 applications had recently been filed by growers to the cane commissioner complaining of non-payment of their lawful dues by the sugar mills.

The bench also directed the cane commission to appear personally before it on Oct 11 along with a report detailing what efforts had been made to ensure payment to the unpaid growers.

The court also asked the association of growers to submit applications again within three days to the cane commissioner and directed the latter to verify each application and submit report.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2018

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