ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Wednesday approved the payment of Rs4.058 billion to clear salaries and related dues of 12,175 teachers of Basic Education Community Schools providing non-formal basic education to the downtrodden.
The meeting, presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar, had a detailed discussion on matters pertaining to the project regarding operation of these schools and allowed Rs4.058bn, clearing the previous liabilities and six months’ expenses of the current financial year up to December 2018.
This will be subject to verification of personnel and facilities by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the district administration concerned.
The project is based on non-formal basic education system where the community provides for the premises, while expenses on teachers’ honorarium, utility bills, text books, etc, are met by the federal government.
12,175 people to benefit from Ecnec decision
The enrolment in these schools was about 463,198 and 56 per cent of the students were female, with each school having roughly 30 students of age group 4-16 years. Single teacher is responsible for all the classes of the school by adopting multi-grade teaching methods based on formal school curriculum.
The project, originally planned for five years, is under implementation since 1995 in areas where formal schools were not available and cover all the provinces and areas of the country on the basis of need determined by physical survey of the identified location.
The project was started with an initial cost of Rs1.26bn in 1995 for five years. Ecnec again approved the project in 2007 at a revised cost of Rs7bn with implementation period from 2006 to 2010. It was once against approved in 2014 at a cost of Rs4.28bn for 2013-16. Another phase was approved in July 2017 at another revised cost of Rs3bn.
The sponsoring agency — Ministry of Education and Professional Training — has now come up with six-month salary and liabilities as a new project.
About Rs1.2bn has already been allocated in the current year’s Public Sector Development Programme. The Planning Commission has, however, objected to the project on the grounds that it should now be adopted by the provinces for which a case should be immediately taken up at the level of Council of Common Interests.
The Planning Commission has also demanded that besides Nadra and district administration’s verification for the future, the education and professional training ministry should also submit a forensic audit report conducted by the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue from original commencement of the revised project in 2007.
The meeting was told that most of the funds required would go against the payment of salaries to the teachers until December 2018, besides about Rs477 million other liabilities.
Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019