CHINIOT: The teachers, principals, and support staff working in 7,577 private schools funded by the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) are yet to receive their salaries for June and July.

School owners fear that they might miss the August salaries as well, considering that payments from the PEF could be further delayed due to the delay in budgetary allocations from the Punjab government for 2023-24.

The PEF has been supporting 7,577 private schools, benefiting around 2,751,141 students by providing free quality education and textbooks. The selection of these schools was based on transparent and merit-based criteria. The schools received a fee of Rs550 per student per month to cover the educational expenses of low-income students.

The PEF conducts quality assurance tests for students to assess the quality of teaching and learning in these schools. Surprise monitoring is also conducted to ensure transparent utilisation of funds.

These schools collectively employ over 100,000 principals, teachers, support, IT, and administrative staff to provide education. Their salaries depend on the timely receipt of monthly funds from the PEF.

However, despite the announcement of the budget by the Punjab government and the allocation of Rs27 billion for PEF, the schools have not yet received the monthly funds for July and August. These funds are meant to cover salaries and other school expenses, such as building rent, electricity and utility bills and taxes.

Muzammil Hussain, an owner of a PEF-funded school, pointed out that the foundation has consistently provided funds transparently without any corruption or commission in their online accounts. However, the two-month delay has disrupted the schools’ and employees’ budgets.

Many schools have been unable to pay their high building rents, leading to eviction notices. Additionally, some schools are struggling to cover hefty electricity bills and are concerned about disconnection when they reopen after summer vacation.

He has appealed to Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and the chief secretary to address the needs of the PEF employees.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2023

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