Seeking explanations on alleged irregularities, National Education Foundation (NEF) has issued show-cause notices to authorities of Basic Education Community Schools (BECS).
“We have served notices to the provincial and regional directors and given them two weeks to explain why they have been receiving funds for ghost schools,” said NEF Managing Director Naser Hayat while talking to The Express Tribune recently.
He added that the directors would face “strict action” and may also face expulsion if they failed to come up with a valid explanation.
According to the official, the notices were issued following a media report alleging that the directors had been receiving funds in connivance with NEF officials in the head office for schools that never existed.
A few months back, nearly 2,100 BECS schools were declared “ghost schools” following a survey conducted by National Database and Registration Authority that included 15,000 community schools across the country. A majority of these schools have been stated to be existing in Balochistan and interior Sindh, so it becomes difficult to verify them.
Surprisingly, NEF did not take any stern action against the responsible officials earlier. Some officials were even promoted instead of being investigated.
Meanwhile, Planning Commission of Pakistan has decided not to extend the project’s funding due to repeated allegations of nepotism, mismanagement and corruption.
A senior official at the commission said that the project has failed to meet its objectives despite spending of billions of rupees which is why funding is not being extended.
Earlier, the Ministry of Education and Trainings had also replaced the previous project director Brigadier Sirajuddin with Shakil Malik after media reports highlighted the irregularities.
Malik, when contacted, said he had received several complaints about ghost schools and steps have been taken to streamline the project’s affairs. The planning commission, however, seems to be unsatisfied with the progress so far.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.