“The control of 75 primary schools in Cholistan is being handed over to the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF),” School Education Department (SED) Secretary Abdul Jabbar Shaheen said on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference at District Coordination Officer Imran Sikandar Baloch’s office, he said the PEF was taking over the schools on the direction of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
“The future of students and teachers at these community schools is secure… the provincial government will facilitate them,” he said.
The 75 community schools were being run under the Cholistan Development Authority’s Literate Cholistan programme. The provincial government had earlier decided to shut down these schools by March 2014 due to a lack of funds. This would have affected as many as 5,000 children. Shaheen said several school buildings were being upgraded. He said teachers would also be appointed.
“The salaries and allowances of the faculty will also be provided according to the government’s rules and regulations.”
“More than 4,200 students are studying at these schools… the schools will improve as a result of the partnership between the Punjab Education Foundation, the Cholistan Development Authority and non-government organisations,” he said.
The School Education Department secretary said Rs500 million had been released for the provision of missing facilities including construction of boundary walls and provision of electricity, water, toilets and furniture.
He said the standard of education at these schools would be monitored and “negligence and mismanagement would not be tolerated.” He said the government was committed to opening more schools. He said a new Urdu syllabus would be introduced for third graders at the schools.
PED Monitoring Director Rana Abdul Qayyum, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Chaudhry Saad Masood and Executive District Officer (Education) Ashfaq Gujjar also attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2014.
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