The administration of Public School Gadap hoped to offer free admissions to 50 per cent of their students but was only able to provide 30 per cent due to a shortage of funds.
In September last year, the provincial education department gave the administrative authority of this state-of-the-art boarding school for boys to the Sindh Graduates Association (SGA) to run it under their ‘adopt-a-school policy’.
The school was set to offer classes from grade six up till intermediate level, for which exams were to be conducted by the Aga Khan University Examination Board.
SGA secretary-general Wali Muhammad Roshan told The Express Tribune that the school had to give admissions to 600 students while reserving half of the seats for needy students from suburban neighbourhoods. Those 300 students would receive free tuition, boarding and lodging, meals, school uniforms and books.
A board of governors, comprising 21 members of both the public and private sector, was also set up. Meanwhile, the provincial government had given Rs250 million to set up an endowment fund for the school, said Roshan.
The residents were also very excited for this opportunity. Shah Jan Jokhio, of Radho Jokhio village, recalled that their family had already planned on sending their children to this school, given the dearth of government primary and secondary schools in Gadap. “Our children were only supposed to clear a written admissions test,” he said.
The school advertised the admissions in April this year. The prospectus included a semester fee of Rs63,300 that was meant to include fees for tuition, boarding and lodging, laundry, games, medical treatment, library services, hair cuts, shoe repairs, a language lab and computer training.
The high fee did not discourage Gadap resident Azad Idrees. “We were assured that the fee would be charged only from students who come from the city and could afford it. Fifty per cent of the seats were supposed to be reserved for students who could not afford it,” he said.
For their part, the school administration was also unable to offer as many admissions as they had hoped. They only took 110 new students of which only 36 are from underprivileged areas.
“The promises made by the government hardly come true and you know better about them,” said the secretary-general. “The academic session was going to start in September and the government has yet to pay us the installments.” According to Roshan, the association will need Rs4.5 million every month if it were to run according to the initial agreement.
Despite the lack of funds, the school did manage to offer 110 admissions, said SGA chairperson Dr Muhammad Suleman Shaikh. The association had two options - to defer the admissions to next year, or to announce admissions this year but take in fewer students. “We went for the second option and announced admissions only for grades six to eight on seats that were way less than 600 in number.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2012.
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First time listened to this school. Even with fee this school does not seem a bad option. This is good at least they managed to get some students onboard if not as much as promised. This was a hard target to admit 300 students fully free of charge TBH. I think you first need to create that charisma of Mian Shehbaz of Punjab in you which makes things possible which otherwise look impossible before giving such hard targets.