Provincial government has taken numerous strategic strides to upgrade the standard of education in Punjab. The strategic plans to enhance educational standards seem to be extravagant, ostensibly while the reality does not authenticate the results. Around a decade ago, Punjab government formed the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF). Rationale behind the PEF was maintaining public-private partnership of schools, from pre-nursery to matriculation level. It intended to make the high standard education accessible to poor students. The deprived populace found it as a ray of hope for their children’s future.

In the federal budget of the financial year 2014-15, PEF has been allocated with Rs. 10,860 million to finance the expenditures of 830 (currently listed) schools. In such schools, the administration has made this into a lucrative business and does not consider who is being exploited and to what extent. Government of Pakistan has set a minimum wage rate for an unskilled laborer at Rs. 12,000, but no one cares how much teachers are paid. Teachers, who will groom our coming generations, who are ethical and moral guards of any society are paid less than a peon and maid.

The builders of this nation are forced to serve at very low wages. In the urban areas a large number of teachers are serving at a monthly salary of Rs. 2500 to Rs. 4000 (with graduation) and Rs. 4000 to Rs. 6000 for those having 16 years of education. Can there be anything more brutal than this? The teachers, especially females, do not have any other option to support their families than to work at the wage rates equal to zilch. Can they ensure excellence of education under these circumstances?

The government must create a better system of remuneration for these teachers, directly under the supervision of PEF authorities. No matter if the schools are qualifying the periodical mandatory Quality Assessment Tests. Awful annual results (at primary and elementary level) of Punjab Examination Commission are a live witness to the uselessness of these plans. Necessary steps must be taken by the authorities in order to safeguard the rights of the teachers serving in the schools under public-private partnership with PEF.

SANA NOUREEN,

Bahawalpur, November 6.