KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah directed the school education department to decentralise primary school management by handing over administrative and financial powers to grade BS-17 headmasters (HMs).
He issued these directives on Wednesday while presiding over a meeting to review development schemes of the school education department and to work out the new uplift portfolio for the next financial year. The meeting was attended by Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah, Planning and Development (P&D) Chairperson Naheed Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Education Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez, Finance Secretary Najam Shah, Colleges Secretary Pervez Sihar, P&D Secretary Shireen Narejo, Chief Economist Fatah Tunio and other officers.
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The CM said that decentralisation of primary school management by empowering headmasters of grade BS-17 with administrative and financial powers would be a right way to utilise budget at primary school level.
At present, Rs2 billion of the budget assigned to schools and Rs500 million for innovative initiatives are under the control of the education department. The schools, through their district education officers (DEOs) and directors, keep requesting the department to release their budget.
Education secretary informed the CM that 201 schemes, including 199 on-going and two new schemes were in progress with an allocation of Rs15.15b against which Rs8.28b have been released while the expenditures by the end of April stood at Rs4.19b.
The department proposed to start 149 new schemes in the next Annual Development Programme (ADP). At this, the CM said that he would have a very thin chance for the allocation of new schemes. "I am trying to complete the on-going schemes on priority basis in the next budget," he said.
Education minister said that he had a plan to construct 179 two-roomed buildings for the shelter-less primary schools found in 19 districts at an estimated cost of Rs1.16b. He also proposed Rs2.6b for the rehabilitation of 29 such primary/elementary school buildings that have a higher number of students.
The CM directed the education department to prepare a scheme under which students of government schools could be provided with transport facilities. "This facility should be provided to those schools where different sections such as primary to higher secondary are housed," he elaborated his point.
Shah expressed dissatisfaction on the teaching quality at all levels from primary to secondary. "We must focus on teachers' training and those [teachers] who have no capacity to teach should be sent to other wings of the education department.
The education minister proposed to open positions and appoint music teachers along with English, Mathematics, Science and other subjects' teachers in secondary schools. "Music will relax the students and inculcate their learning instincts," he said.
The CM directed the education department to have a separate meeting with the P&D and finance department to include the new schemes in the next budget.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2019.
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