PESHAWAR: As 35% of government schools in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa remain without boundary walls, the provincial government is yet to release Rs2 billion for their security.
Although authorities asked all government educational institutions to increase safety measures in the wake of the Army Public School massacre, they have not released the amount earmarked from this year’s budget.
Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Muhammad Atif Khan said Rs9 billion was set aside for the security of government-run schools across the province. He added Rs2 billion would be taken from the current budget, while the remainder would come from the allocation for education for 2015-16.
Requesting anonymity, an official of the education department shared that his department was granted Rs2 billion from the Planning and Development department, but it is yet to release the funds to schools. He revealed that over 35% of schools in K-P are without boundary walls, while thousands of institutes lack security arrangements as they have yet to receive government funding.
A primary schoolteacher in Peshawar’s Larama Union Council, Firdous Khan said the school he teaches at has been without boundary walls for years, He added children are sitting out in the open and nobody has even bothered to ask the institute.
K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Additional Secretary Qaiser Alam said the government has allocated Rs19.9 billion in the 2014-15 budget. He said the funds were earmarked for ongoing and new education projects such as construction of new schools and the provision of basic facilities at existing institutes.
Alam said the construction of boundary walls became a top priority after the APS attack and funds for this purpose were to be taken from this year’s budget. He claimed money has already been released for the schools’ improvement programme.
He said Parent-Teacher Councils’ (PTC) efforts have resulted in several schools having constructed boundary walls.
He added around Rs170 million in developmental funds have been provided for girls’ schools and Rs45 million for boys’ institutes in Peshawar district alone.
Alam added all PTCs have been directed to fulfill their needs from this amount. He disclosed that more funds would be provided on need-basis. He further claimed the majority of schools in Peshawar had constructed boundary walls while the height size of existing ones had been increased.
He added the government has completed record development work and they will spend the entire allocated amount in a phase-wise manner.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2015.