Rs422m released for renovation of schools under PM’s reforms programme

Updated May 22, 2019

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Due to unavailability of funds, work in 200 schools remained suspended since Nov last year. — APP/File
Due to unavailability of funds, work in 200 schools remained suspended since Nov last year. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has released Rs422 million to complete ongoing reconstruction and renovation work in 200 schools in the federal capital.

Sources in the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) said work had been halted in almost all schools, causing problems for the students.

They said contractors had halted the work in November last year because of unavailability of funds.

Due to unavailability of funds, work in 200 schools remained suspended since Nov last year

According to an official, work has been completed in 90 schools but the FDE officials were yet to take them over as they did not want to involve themselves in the project which was being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) due to an allegation of substandard work.

The schools are being renovated under the Prime Minister’s Reforms Programme launched by the previous PML-N government. PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz is said to have convinced her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to launch the project in 2016 after seeing the condition of some of the government schools.

FDE Director General Syed Umair Javed told Dawn that the directorate had no direct role in the project because it was being executed by a team formed by the now defunct Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD).

After the abolishment of CADD a couple of years ago, the FDE and PM’s reforms programme were handed over to the Ministry of Education.

“The work is incomplete, whenever it will be completed as per SOP, we will take over the schools,” said the DG.

Some other officials of the FDE said the project remained incomplete since Oct 2018 creating difficulties for students and teachers. “The project should be completed on a priority basis,” they said.

An official involved in the project said the federal government a few days ago released Rs422 million.

“Now we have restarted work in eight schools and after Ramazan the work will get momentum,” the official said.

He said the renovation of 200 institutions would be completed by July 15.

“In November, the project was halted because of shortage of funds. Now, we have funds but because of Ramazan the contractors are facing shortage of labourers.”

The official said the last installment of funds - Rs254m - would also be released in a few months.

Under the reforms programme, all the 422 educational institutions in Islamabad were to be renovated - 22 in the first phase, 200 in the second and 200 in the third. But the PML-N government could not complete the project during its tenure and the second phase is still ongoing.

Federal Government Teacher Association President Malik Ameer said because of the incomplete work students were suffering.

“The project should be completed on a priority otherwise the already completed work will be of no use,” he said, adding there were several questions on the standard of the work.

“Substandard work was carried out in the schools. Particularly, the construction of washrooms and sewerage system is highly substandard,” he added.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2019