ISLAMABAD: Delay in completion of civil works in schools under the Prime Minster Reforms Programme has been causing nuisance for students and teachers, sources told Dawn.

The sources said Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood had also taken notice of the issue and directed the authorities concerned to expedite the work.

The reform programme was launched by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, under which all 423 educational institutions were to be face lifted in three phases. However, after completing one small phase of 22 institutions, previous government launched second phase for renovation and facelift of 200 institutions, which is still incomplete.

Sources said that out of 200, work is completed in 90 schools but Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) is unwilling to take over these 90 schools because of controversy attached to this project as an inquiry report of FDE had termed the work in many schools carried out under PM reform programme substandard.

Last year National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also started a probe into the project, but so far, it has failed to complete the task.

“In many schools including my college, the work is incomplete and causing great trouble for students and teachers. Even in my college, our main library hall has been closed for the last three years,” said Malik Ameer, teacher of IMCB G-7.

Mr Ameer, who is also President of Federal Government Schools Teachers Association, said if work was not completed, students in many schools would have to sit in incomplete classrooms with open window and doors in this winter too.

The PM reform project worth over Rs2.5 billion was designed without taking the schools’ heads into confidence.

It was executed through a Project Management Unit (PMU) based in the then parent ministry of FDE- Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD).

Last year after abolishing the CADD, government placed the education sector of capital city under the administrative control of ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.

Sources said in many schools, the heads did not know the cost and details of the project as PMU was executing it directly.

When contacted, project director Waqas Farid said 90 schools were ready to be taken over by schools heads but they as well as the FDE were reluctant to assume control of the schools.

He said now it had been decided that PMU would take control of schools from contractors and hand over to heads of institutions. He said work is in progress in remaining 110 schools.

“We have been making efforts to complete the project as soon as possible,” he said.

Speaking to Dawn,education minister Shafqat Mehmood said that he had directed the officials concerned to complete the project on priority.

Replying to a question, he said that no undue delay would be tolerated. The minister said that NAB should also expedite its probe. “I was told last year that NAB has collected the record of the project. NAB should complete its investigation as soon as possible and if someone is involved in any wrongdoing action should be taken against him. But there should be no delay in completing the investigation,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019