MULTAN: The number of public schools in the province has gone down from 70,000 eight years ago to 52,000, Punjab Teachers’ Union district chairman Rana Altaf Hussain said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“The government has carried out several failed experiments on the public education system in the last eight years…running schools under the private-public partnership model is one such terrible experiment.”
He said the population had grown exponentially over the last decade whereas the number of public schools had declined. “Private schools moved in swiftly to fill that demand gap. Successive governments have failed to rein in the private sector and now things appear to be out of control.”
Hussain said private schools ‘partnering’ with Punjab Education Foundation were profit-oriented enterprises. “Give it a few years and they will start blackmailing the government like established private schools are doing.”
Ever since the Punjab Examination Commission was introduced in the early 2000s, the quality of education in schools has deteriorated, he said. The exams set by the PEC are too complicated for children studying in backward areas, he said.
“The government has put off upgrading public schools for several years without offering an explanation for the delay.” The PTU leader condemned, what he termed, the government’s step-motherly attitude towards public education. “The fact that the government is now reaching out to include more private schools under the PEF’s umbrella is proof of the government’s failure to introduce and implement visionary education reforms.”
“Creating district education authorities will not bring about a revolution in education …the situation will worsen.” He urged the chief minister to revise its decision to hand over schools to the PEF, scrap exams under the PEC and take back the decision to establish district education authorities. He also demanded assent to a summary requesting promotions for teachers. “If the government does not agree to our demands, the Punjab Teachers’ Union will stage protests in front of press clubs in each district on March 10, 17, 24 and 31.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2016.