LAHORE: Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said on Wednesday that private educational institutions had been playing a pivotal role in ensuring the provision of quality education.
The minister made the remarks at the annual function of Door of Awareness, a local non-government organisation. Rehman said the government appreciated the efforts of private institutions to raise the literacy rate. He said the nongovernment sector was playing an effective role in providing children from disadvantaged backgrounds with education.
He said the Punjab School Reforms Roadmap had been yielding positive results and the enrolment of all children would be ensured by the end of 2018. Rehman said Rs310 billion had been allocated for education in the provincial budget. He said this constituted 27 per cent of the expenditure. Rehman said revamping the sector was a priority of the government.
The minister said computer laboratories would be established across 990 high schools, missing facilities would be provided in 7,500 schools, the buildings of 4,727 schools would be constructed again, 24,500 additional rooms would be built at school campuses and 500 new schools would be established over the next fiscal year.
Rehman said fresh targets had been set under the Punjab School Reforms Roadmap. He said the 18-point roadmap would have to be effectively implemented to ensure that the targets were realised by 2018. While ensuring the provision of education was a constitutional obligation of the government, it was unrealistic to expect the government to perform this duty singlehandedly, Rehman said. He said the government required the assistance of the private sector on this account. Rehman said it was encouraging to see that private educational institutions had been providing a consistent standard of education.
The minister said scholarships to the tune of Rs12 billion were being provided to over 50,000 students nationwide and abroad by the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said the government saw private institutions as its major partners in its effort to promote education. Rehman said the government had been implementing a comprehensive policy to revamp standards of education across schools. He said a sum of Rs8 billion had been earmarked for the provision of missing facilities at schools. Rehman said Rs3.63 billion had been provided for the distribution of free textbooks to students. He said IT laboratories had been set up in over 5,000 high and 515 middle schools.
The minister said 3,068 primary and middle schools had been upgraded at a cost of Rs13,005 million over the past seven years. He said admissions in professional colleges were being made solely on merit. Rehman said gifted students were being awarded laptops while those who topped board examinations were being sent on visits abroad.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015.
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