ISLAMABAD: As the new academic session gets underway in the capital’s colleges, students are faced with a familiar dilemma — insufficient government busses which can transport them home.
However, the students need not suffer since around 40 brand new buses are standing in colleges, ready to transport children but require official formalities to be completed so that they can be assigned to colleges.
Around 130 buses were to be imported for educational institutions in the capital under the under the Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme (PMERP), initiated by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
In the first phase, around 70 buses were distributed amongst schools last year.
In the second phase, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) had received a tranche of 40 buses.
But the buses have been gathering dust in the Islamabad Model Postgraduate College in Sector H-8 for the past two months, waiting to be assigned to different educational institutions even as the new academic session starts.
According to officials, colleges such as those in sectors H-8, H-9, H-8/4, F-7/2, F-7/4(Margalla), G-10/4 and I-8/3, ICB, ICG, and girls’ colleges have little to offer to students in terms of a transport system owing to the dearth of buses in the city.
As a result, the existing buses are packed with students, often with more than their capacity owing to the huge demand.
An official at college in Sector H-8 said that they have applications from as many as 300 students pending who have applied for a bus card.
“But we cannot [issue them the card],” the official said, explaining that there was just not enough space in the three buses which have been assigned to the college.
“Parents and students ask us daily when will the new buses, which have been standing in the college, will be available,” he lamented.
“A common scene in our buses is of students hanging dangerously from its gates because of little or no room inside,” stated a teacher at a government college in Sector H-9.
“The drivers are ignorant to the situation inside their buses. Whatever is the situation, ultimately students have to bear its brunt in the end,” the teacher said, adding that the respective authorities should save the poor students from the humiliation and disgrace they face every day.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, FDE Director General Hasnat Qureshi affirmed that the buses were ready for distribution.
However, he said that at the moment, they were being subjected to an inspection before they can be assigned to schools and colleges.
“Technical teams from the manufacturer as well as from FDE are undertaking the inspection,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2018.