School heads in KP providing wrong data to get more funds

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Majority of district education officers and headmasters of government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been providing the provincial Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department with exaggerated information to hide their inefficiency and get more funds, officials said.

The education department officials, who requested anonymity, said that officers in districts had been indulging in filing wrong information and data to the department’s secretariat to hide the truth about declining standard of education.

In their annual data collection report, the district education offices and headmasters depict good picture of the schools for two reasons; first to get more funds being given in proportion to the number of enrolled students in a school and second to hide their poor performance and dropout of students.

The E&SE department annually collects data from government schools through the Education Management Information System (EMIS), a cell established in the department’s secretariat. The EMIS has its setups in the offices of district education officers.

As a standard practice, a pro forma is sent every year to each school from primary to higher secondary level to record information about available facilities, number of students, teachers, status of school (open or closed), building condition, dropout rate and others.

The sources said that some heads of the schools did not consider it as their responsibility to properly fill the pro forma. Data collection is usually done so that the government could judiciously allocate funds to different institutions according to their status and performance.

The headmasters of the high and higher secondary schools show 200 to 300 students in excess to the actual number of students in their respective institution, the sources said, pointing to similar practice in primary and middle schools.

Asked about reason for that, the officials said that the headmasters wanted to retain more teachers than required by exaggerating the strength of students. They said that the government deputed teachers according to the number of enrolled students at a 1:40 ratio. In this way, they also misguide the E&SE department concerning dropout students.

The pro forma filled out by each headmaster is also countersigned by respective sub-division and district education officers before sending the data collected this way for entry in the EMIS office. However, the official sources said that nobody bothered to check whether the information was correct or not.

They said that the district education officers didn’t mention the actual number of closed schools in their respective districts, officials said. They said that the number of closed schools in Peshawar was over 50, while the number of such schools in far-off districts like Chitral, Dir, Lakki Marwat, etc could be higher than that.

They said that this was why E&SE minister Sardar Hussain Babak had repeatedly claimed that during his tenure around 1,600 closed schools had been reopened, while his department had never mentioned the number of closed schools over 450 in last few years. All this shows that the data of EMIS is incorrect, they said.

Also, the annual EMIS report could not be issued despite the lapse of over one year, as the last such report was issued in April 2011.

“There were major flaws in the annual report 2011 and it could not be published after the education minister raised objections on the data,” an official said.

Besides, the minister and secretary education have asked the relevant officials not to share the flawed report with the media. Secretary elementary and secondary education department Mohammad Humayun Khan when contacted said that the data compiled from the government schools was cross checked. “How it is possible that the headmasters provide disinformation to the education department,” he said. However, he didn’t reply when asked why EMIS report was not published in 2012.