Pinpointing shortcomings: Opposition dissects PTI’s ‘education emergency’

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The government’s educational policies came under scrutiny in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday as opposition members discussed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government’s ‘education emergency’.

The opposition was discussing an 11-point agenda submitted at the requisition of the current session.

Starting the debate, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s parliamentary leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman said the government announced an educational emergency in this fiscal year’s budget, however, measures to tackle that emergency were yet to be seen on ground. He said education was an important sector and it was the government’s duty to improve its standards throughout the province.

He said the government should formulate policies that bring the public towards education, adding the government is yet to start on schools which were supposed to be built under the year’s budget.

Rehman asked the government to explain whether these schools were going to see the light of the day as it does not seem plausible that they will be constructed this year.

He said teachers of the Workers Welfare Board’s schools had not been paid their salaries for the past eight months.

Meraj Humayun Khan, a lawmaker belonging to the Qaumi Watan Party, bemoaned the lack of policy with regards to education. She pointed out that the government was utilising around Rs600 million on monitoring the system through inexperienced officials, suggesting 124 members of the house can act as monitors for schools. She said the government did not trust the huge pool of education department employees for the purpose and instead trained other people for the job.

Instead of increasing the number of schools and incentives for teachers, the government hurriedly launched an enrolment drive which will result in the cramming of schools and lead to a further decline in the quality of education, Khan said.

“New schools were not being constructed in the province and the destroyed and damaged institutes were not being reconstructed either.”

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha said the education emergency was only for the government’s lawmakers and not for the opposition members. He said in Hazara division, the schools destroyed in the 2005 earthquake were yet to be reconstructed.

PTI’s Sardar Idress shared that 102 schools in Abbottabad had only walls, forcing students to take classes in the open. He said the entire provincial development budget was insufficient for the construction of these schools and asked where the funds meant for these schools were diverted, adding the provincial government should ask the centre about the utilisation of the school reconstruction funds.

Awami National Party’s Sardar Hussain Babak highlighted the educational policies pursued by the previous government where he was the education minister.

The house also discussed a calling attention notice by PML-N’s Amna Sardar for stopping the anti-encroachment drive in Galiyat and relocation of the Galiyat Development Authority’s office to Abbottabad from Peshawar.

The house also passed three resolutions regarding the issuance of blue passports to lawmakers and government officials.

Source: The Express Tribune.