Education in this country has always been exploited to serve political interests of certain groups and individuals. Political expediencies have determined the context and direction of a number of education policies formulated— never implemented though — by successive governments since the establishment of Pakistan.
Educational institutions, especially those of higher learning and universities, have seldom been free from political interference. Even the locations for establishment of educational institutions in the public sector, whether schools or colleges, are selected keeping in view the electoral or political interests of individuals or parties.
A recent report from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has revealed that at least 55 colleges had been set up by the previous government on political grounds at places where they were hardly needed.
A government document refers to Government Girls Degree College, Haripur. It has 161 students and 126 staff members with a monthly expenditure of Rs50,000 per student.
Government Commerce College, Dagar, in Buner district, established in 2017, has 82 students and 46 staff members with an expenditure of Rs30,000 per student per month. The document also reveals that each of the 55 colleges was established at a cost of Rs250 million.
Most of these colleges were established in areas where there were hardly any primary or secondary schools in the vicinity which could serve as feeder institutions for these colleges.
The K-P government has, however, framed a new policy for establishment of colleges in the future. New colleges would only be established in localities where there are required numbers of primary or secondary schools to provide at least 250 students admission to first year of intermediate class of the college.
According to this new policy, the buildings of the colleges already established at ‘unfeasible’ locations or areas would now be utilised for other public purposes.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2019.