ISLAMABAD - Over the years government’s fixed minimum wages have reached Rs 14,000 per month, but the teachers of basic schools are still getting only Rs 5,000 per month, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training revealed in the National Assembly yesterday.

In his written reply, he said 12304 Non-formal Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) are established and functional across the country except 131 schools which were temporarily closed by the BECS management due to the military operation in North and South Waziristan.

“At present Basic Education Community Schools teacher’s honorarium is Rs. 5,000 per month,” he wrote in his reply to the question of lawmaker Aasiya Nasir.

He further revealed that teachers had been receiving Rs. 3000 per month, till three years back.

No, previous government has enhanced the honorarium of BECS teachers, however, the present government enhanced their honoraria from minimum to Rs. 5,000/- per month, the minister said.

He said all BECS teachers are working on temporary basis under the PSDP funded project and their services will not be regularized due to its non-formal education model. BECS teachers are temporarily nominated on need basis only, wherein a teacher is nominated from within the community without following the standard recruitment formalities.

He said a revised PC-I of the BECS project for the period (2016-19) with increased teacher honorarium, of Rs. 8.000- per month is under process for approval in the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms.

Answering another question of parliamentarian Dr. Shizra Mansab Ali Khan Kharral, regarding total number of dailies/magazines and periodicals being published in the country at present, Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid said a total number of NOCs issued by the office of the Press Registrar since 2003 to 2016 are 11279, while total registered publications up to year 2016 are 3244.

Total number of dailies are 3248, weeklies 2810, fortnightly 462, monthlies 4084, bi monthlies 62, quarterly 422, half yearly 31, annual 123 and bi-annual 37.

Answering another question by lawmaker Shiekh Salahuddin, the minister replied that it is true that newspapers are publishing verses and translation of the Holy Quran for information and education of their readers which is highly deplorable and violation of the existing law regarding offences relating to defiling of Holy Qur’an.

However, he said, a law already exists regarding offences relating to defiling of Holy Quran, which stipulates life imprisonment for an offender who wilfully defiles a copy or portion of the Holy Qur’an.

He said Press Information Department on the request of Ministry of Religious Affairs had written a letter to the Presidents of APNS, CPNE and Chairman PBA, requesting them to ensure observance of reverence of the verses of Holy Quran.