LAHORE: The Punjab School Education Department (SED) is looking to complete all its development projects by the end of March.
Currently, there are around 1,300 ongoing development projects of the department in different parts of the province.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Punjab SED Secretary Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik, while confirming the orders, said, "We will complete all the ongoing development schemes by the end of March. This, the orders to complete the projects, is being carried out on the instructions of the chief minister and the Punjab chief secretary."
He said that the projects included various civil works throughout the province, including building classrooms at different public schools as well as laboratories, boundary walls and toilets.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered the completion of in-progress development projects, including building boundary walls of schools, laboratories and additional classrooms. The step has been taken in light of the end of the tenure of the current government as the preparations for the last budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 are underway.
The SED has a total of 1,290 ongoing development projects, which are still in progress. Of these, 153 projects have been carried over from previous fiscal years. The SED is looking to complete all of them by March 31, as ordered by the provincial government.
Speaking about the priorities for the next fiscal year, Dr Malik said that the SED had prioritised the upgradation of primary schools to middle and high schools. "In the next fiscal year, we have prioritised the upgradation of 3,000 primary schools to higher levels," he said. Dr Malik said that currently, Punjab had 35,000 primary and 8,000 higher-level schools. He added that because of the low number of middle and high schools in the province, many students drop out.
"To accommodate graduates of primary schools, we are looking to provide more government-run middle and high schools in the province. Another priority for the department for the next year is to provide more IT and science labs in schools to promote science education," he said.
During the budget of the fiscal year 2017-18, the Punjab government allocated Rs345 billion for education in the province. Of the total, Rs74.1 billion, or 21.47% of the total budgetary allocation, was made for the development projects in the sector. For schools, the government allocated Rs53.36 billion. The allocation for development schemes was further divided into Rs9.56 billion for ongoing schemes – incomplete schemes from previous years, Rs17.79 billion for new schemes and Rs26 billion for other development programmes.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2018.
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