Neglect of education: MPAs appeal for education emergency

Claim 90 per cent MPAs in the house have influenced the education minister for appointments.

Hafeez Tunio February 11, 2014
Female MPAs exchange views during a session of Sindh Assembly on Tuesday. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI: On realising that the learning indicators of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are better than Sindh, lawmakers of the Sindh Assembly have demanded that the government impose an education emergency in the province.

Debating on the adjournment motion moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) MPA Mehtab Akbar Rashdi and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed, they stressed the need to start a campaign on a war-footing basis to save the education sector from fading further. “Ninety per cent of the MPAs present in the house have influenced the education minister for the appointment and transfers of teachers. First, let us promise that we will not indulge in such practices again,” said lawmakers in their speeches. “We want to discuss a definite matter of an urgent public importance- the worsening standard of education in Sindh, especially in rural areas. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2013 has indicated that Sindh has become the worst province in terms of student’s learning, outcomes, enrollment and school facilities,” said the two MPAs in their plea.

“Every year, we spend billions of rupees on education, but the results are dismal,” said Ahmed.

“Our government school students enrolled in class five cannot read English lessons of class two students. Forty five per cent of the girls’ schools have no toilet facility and 50 per cent schools are without boundary walls,” he lamented, adding that only two per cent schools had libraries.  He said there was no dearth of funds, but political will is lacking.

“A total of Rs15 billion was allocated for education in 2008-2009, but the department could only spend Rs5 billion. Similarly, Rs10 billion was spent in 2010-2011 and Rs91 billion in 2012-2013. Out of a total of Rs121 billion in the current fiscal year, Rs43 billion has so far been spent in the last six months, but the standard of education is deteriorating with each passing day,” he said.

“If we do not take serious notice, the condition in Sindh will become worse than Balochistan,” he lamented.  “There are a total of 575,000 government employees in the province, out of which 270,000 are only teachers. It means one third of the total budget in the province is spent on education.”

Rashdi questioned the absence of education minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, the secretary education and the thin attendance of others MPAs during the session.  “The people of FATA have realised the importance of education,” she said.  “We have to fix responsibilities. In our society, appointment orders are given in public gathering. How will teachers who cannot even read an application bring change?”

“Millions of rupees are spent on ghost teachers. There is no accountability,” she said, adding that in Karachi 18 teachers are appointed for five students in Azizabad.

The PML-F MPA drew the attention of the house towards the recent inquiry into the 6,000 fake orders for teachers.

PTI MPA Khurram Sher Zaman said that most of the government schools in his constituency are in a pathetic condition. “I will suggest the government to hold an education festival under the supervision of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.”

Heer Ismail Soho of the MQM said that 70 per cent schools in Thatta are non-functional. Khursheed Junejo of the PPP said around 182 schools in his constituency in Larkana are idle. Irfanullah Marwat of PML-N disclosed that 18 schools are in one of the union councils in his constituency in district East while 31 are in a union council in Thatta.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2014.


Asif | 7 years ago | Reply

Were all these MPA sleeping when the school conditions were going down the drain?

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