Only 10 to 15 per cent of the 0.4 million students enrolled in Sindh's public colleges attend classes, disclosed the Chief Minister's Inspection Team (CMIT) in its report.
The report, submitted to Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, also expressed concern over the thin attendance of teachers and suggested the government take urgent steps to fix this problem.
Soon after the report was sent in the first week of August, the inspection team issued letters to the education minister and secretary, the chief secretary, the boards, the deputy commissioners and other relevant officials of the education department to make special teams, pay surprise visits and take action against those teachers who do not bother to attend college. There are nearly 8,000 college teachers in the province.
There are 239 postgraduate, degree and Intermediate colleges in Sindh out of which 118 colleges are in Karachi, 54 in Hyderabad, 16 in Mirpurkhas, 31 in Sukkur and 20 in Larkana region. Though the education minister and secretary were unavailable for their comments, the CM's coordinator on inspection and inquiries, Haji Muzaffar Shujra, told The Express Tribune that their report was made after officials of his department made inquiries. The rules specify that the students must maintain attendance of at least 75 per cent.
"Around 600 students are enrolled in my college but hardly 100 students attend their classes," said a principal of a government college in Karachi.
"We had received a number of complaints from various quarters about the deteriorating standard of education at the college level," he said. "Our inquiry reveals there is thin attendance of both the students and the teachers." Many college teachers have been getting their salaries and other benefits for doing nothing as they don't even bother coming to work, he added. "We have finished our job and now the authorities should take steps on a war-footing basis."
There is no proper monitoring of the teaching staff and the mechanism of accountability of the teachers is weak, Shujra explained. "This should be done without any delays, otherwise, good quality education is not possible in the province," he said.
Shujra, who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, said they have also started inquiries into the appointment of teachers against the rules. "We have recently taken up the case of the appointment of 270 primary language teachers, who were given the job after violating the merit requirements," he said.
Recently, the chief minister had met the secretaries of the provincial departments and expressed concern over illegal appointments. He had ordered an inquiry into the jobs given in the education, local government and health departments despite the ban and Shujra's team had sprung into action.
The inspection team asked all the government department secretaries to furnish a list of employees working in their departments. "The process of inquiry is in its initial stages and we will soon share the details with the media," he added.
Chanesar Goth school raid
A CMIT and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team had conducted a raid at a school in Chanesar Goth near Kalapul, where the education department was scheduled to initiate work with an estimated cost of Rs30 million. Even though the amount was released, the work has yet to be started, said an official.
Meanwhile, an inquiry had also been initiated into the renovation of the education secretary's office. "An inquiry into Rs80 million work has been initiated by NAB and CMIT," said a senior member of the CMIT. "But, the inquiry officers are facing political pressure to withdraw the cases."
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th,2014.