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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has decided to involve the Public Works Department (PWD) in the inspection of 194 schools being renovated under the Prime Minister’s Education Reform Programme.

Through a letter, the FDE has requested PWD for the services of six officers belonging to the civil and electrical division who would support FDE’s four teams to inspect the schools.

A senior official of the FDE said since the directorate had no expertise in civil and electrical works, it decided to get an input from the PWD.

The directorate has sought services of six officers belonging to civil and electrical division

According to FDE officials, the renovation work in 80 schools is complete but they are not being taken over by the directorate.

“Since this project is being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), we can’t take risk of taking over the schools at this stage,” said an official. After inspection by the committees, a final decision would be taken, he said.

Meanwhile, the FDE provided a complete record of the project to NAB which is probing it.

The reform programme was the brainchild of Maryam Nawaz who convinced her father Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister, to launch the initiative in 2015.

The project was marred by controversies because of alleged substandard work done in several schools which prompted NAB to start investigations.

The project was divided into three phases. In the first phase, 22 schools were renovated while 200 schools are being face-lifted in the ongoing second phase.

In the first phase, 70 buses were purchased while in the second phase 130 vehicles are being procured. However, the fate of the third phase hangs in the balance as no budget has been earmarked for it.

In reply to a question, another official claimed that the renovation work was done in accordance with rules and regulations.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018