The Punjab Assembly on Monday passed the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Bill of 2015 turning down 11 amendments to the draft proposed by opposition members.
The House had debated the proposed amendments for three days before passing the bill. Some of those concerned the working of an advisory council of the board and making board accountable to the House by submitting annual progress reports.
The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act will require setting up a 19-member board to oversee formulation and implementation of education curricula, development and approval of school and college textbooks and production of research and reference materials. The Board will have Curricula, Manuscripts, Production, Administration and Finance wings.
The Board will be headed by a chairperson appointed by the government. Other members will include Finance, School Education, Higher Education and Literacy Department secretaries, five academics, three teachers, chairmen of the Punjab Examination Commission, Punjab Education Foundation and the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education of Lahore.
On Monday, the House also passed the NUR International University Lahore Bill of 2015. The bill proposes the establishment NUR International University, Lahore, in the private sector offering degree programmes in basic, applied, management, and social sciences and humanities. Five amendments put forth by opposition members regarding the bill were rejected.
Deputy speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani informed the house that a 12-member committee had been formed to look into the issue of lawmakers’ salaries. He said the committee was expected to present a report within a week. The committee was headed by the law minister and would have representation from all parliamentary parties, he added.
The deputy speaker reprimanded the School Education Department officials and the parliamentary secretary for their failure to respond to the members’ queries during the questions session. The parliamentary secretary had been asked about missing facilities in public schools, illegal occupation of school buildings and land, and reallocation and rationalisation of teachers’ strength at schools.
Opposition member Sheikh Allaud Din raised the issue of rising air fares and the need for their monitoring. The House earlier observed a minute of silence to honour the memory of former Supreme Court of Pakistan acting chief justice Rana Bhagwandas who passed away early morning on Monday. The session has been adjourned till Tuesday morning (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2015.