ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Education has directed colleges under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to set up gym facilities in order to ensure healthy lifestyles, fitness and physical well-being of the students.

A letter from the education ministry dated Aug 10 through the FDE directed the principals of Islamabad Model College for Boys H-9, Commerce College H-8, Islamabad Model College for Boys F-10/4, Islamabad College for Boys (ICB) G-6/3, IMCB F-7/3, IMCB F-8/4 to set up the gyms.

“In order to ensure healthy lifestyles, fitness and well-being of young students in educational institutions and the community, a gym facility may be established/renovated in your institution within your available resources in the public interest,” read the letter.

Ministry directs principals to establish the facility through available resources

An official of the ministry said on the direction of education minister Shafqat Mahmood, heads of the institutions have been directed to set up gyms.

He said physical fitness is imperative for students to keep themselves healthy.

“It is a good initiative, particularly at a time when there are reports that a number of youth have been using drugs and smoking,” he said and added that the ministry should also direct the FDE to ensure proper sports activities in all educational institutions.

Ad hocism at FDE

The FDE is the supervisory body which controls 423 educational institutions in Islamabad. However, the supervisory body itself lacks proper supervision since December 2016. During the last three years, the post of the director general (DG) has become a musical chair as the ministry gave temporary charge to a number of officers.

On Thursday, Zia Batool, the chairperson of Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira), was given the acting charge of the FDE till posting of a regular DG.

She replaced Syed Umair Javed, who being the joint secretary in the Ministry of Education, was running the FDE as well.

“The look after charge syndrome” has adversely affected the administrative as well as academic performance of FDE and its educational institutions. There seems to be no end to the ad hocism in the education department as the authorities at the helm of affairs continue to manage the crucial post by filling it on a temporary basis,” said a professor of a college.

“Ad hocism has virtually ruined the foundation of the FDE and the colleges and schools. Both the FDE and the educational institutions have been facing impediments in improving their performances. Only a permanent head can supervise the FDE properly. The absence of a permanent DG has hugely affected the work culture in the FDE besides leaving an adverse impact on the efficiency of the subordinate educational institutions due to lack of supervision,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2020