PESHAWAR: The Elementary Education Foundation, an autonomous government organisation, is going to surrender a whopping Rs3.4 billion fund over failure to launch the enrolment of out-of-school children across the province.
Sources told Dawn that the elementary and secondary education department had tasked the EEF with enrolling 212,000 out-of- school children in the government and private schools.
They said since the EEF wasted time due to incapacity and mismanagement, the task of enrolling children wasn’t achieved.
The sources said currently, around 200,000 students were enrolled in community and private schools funded by the provincial government through the EEF.
MD alleges fake identification of out-of-school children by Bureau of Statistics
According to a survey conducted by the education department, over 1.8 million children are out of school in the province.
The sources said the allocation of Rs3.4 billion in the current financial budget (2018-19) was one of the education department’s initiatives meant for bringing children to school.
They said the EEF was considering five options for the enrolment of children, including supporting their education in private schools, establishing community schools, beginning evening shift in government schools, setting up schools under public-private partnership, and launching accelerated learning programme.
The sources said the enrolment of students was to begin at the start of the academic year last April but that plan wasn’t executed.
They said the enrolment was to conclude by the end of January or in the middle of Feb.
The sources said as the process couldn’t begin due to the EEF’s inefficiency, the money allocated for it would be surrendered leaving the targeted children out of schools.
They said the EEF was bound to place advertisements in newspapers to invite firms for the identification of such children, schools and other formalities but it failed to do so.
When contacted, EEF managing director Zulfiqar Ahmad said he’d contracted the Bureau of Statistics (BoS) to identify out-of-school children for enrollment in schools.
He said the BoS identified 90,000 out-of-school children in different areas of the province but when a third party was hired to endorse them, only 40,000 were validated with the rest being found to be fake.
The MD alleged that besides the BoS officials, the EEF officials, too, were involved in the fake identification of the out-of-school children.
“I also stopped the payment of salary to the teachers serving in 450 community schools in Sept as such schools existed on papers only,” he said.
He said the chief minister’s inspection team also probed irregularities in the EEF and submitted a detailed report to the chief minister about it.
“To discuss issues in the organisation, the EEF of governors was convened on Feb 7 but instead of discussing agenda items, it suspended me,” he said.
Adviser to the chief minister on elementary and secondary education Ziaullah Bangash told Dawn that the EEF had long been facing a lot of problems.
He said the EEF board had suspended the MD for failing to deliver.
“The MD was unable to respond to the questions put by BoG members during the meeting,” he said.
The adviser said the board would meet again on Feb 21 to decide about the start of inquiries against the senior EEF officials allegedly involved in irregularities.
Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019