Parent-Teacher councils now to spend more on Schools

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 The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to end the role of communication and works (C&W) department in provision of missing facilities in government schools and instead fully involve the parent-teacher councils (PTCs) for the purpose across the province. Sources said that about Rs2 billion would be spent through PTCs to provide missing facilities in schools in the coming fiscal year. They said that the government had allocated Rs2 billion in the upcoming provincial budget for provision of missing facilities in schools, including construction of additional classrooms, boundary walls, washrooms, electrification, water supply, etc. The sources said that PTCs had so far done a good job of executing small schemes in meagre amount of Rs0.25 million even before the stipulated time to provide facilities in schools. They said that now each PTC would be given up to Rs1 million funds to construct additional classrooms and provide other facilities in schools.

Before 2011, all the missing facilities were provided in the government schools through the C&W department. However, the slow pace of work and frequent allegations of acceptance of commissions by officials from the contractors forced the government to look for other options. Role of C&W dept in provision of missing facilities to end from next fiscal In the absence of basic facilities in schools, the elementary and secondary education department was often criticised by the people, civil society and donors. They had termed the missing facilities as one of the basic reasons for dropout of students and reluctance of parents to admit children to government schools. According to the education department’s data, about 8,640 rooms in government schools need rehabilitation, 10,254 rooms require major repair and 27,276 minor repairs. Also, 10,340 schools are without electricity, 7,554 have no drinking water, 4,904 without boundary walls and 3941 schools lack washrooms. With the support of donors the education department had launched a pilot project in Buner and Dera Ismail Khan in 2011 for speedy provision of missing facilities in schools. For execution of the project, the limit of funds being used by each PTC was enhanced from Rs0.25 million to Rs1 million. PTC is a school-based body comprising parents of some of the enrolled students, an influential of the area and administration of the respective school. Execution of construction works, purchase of furniture, classroom consumables, laboratory equipment etc are done through the PTCs. The sources said that with the effective involvement of PTCs in the pilot project for providing basic facilities launched in 2011, these councils did a wonderful job, meeting targets and deadlines set for them by the education department.

The government extended the project to four other districts, including Nowshera, Karak, Lakki Marwat and Haripur in 2012. Later, it was launched in 10 more districts, for which Rs1 billion was allocated. The C&W department usually constructs an additional classroom at the cost of Rs1.4 million to Rs2 million while the PTC accomplishes the same scheme in Rs0.6 million in comparatively less time, said a source. Usually, PTCs make a plan of constructions needed in the respective schools and missing facilities and sent it to the education department. The education department releases the required fund to the district education officers concerned, who shift the fund to the bank accounts of the respective PTCs

Source: Dawn News.