KARACHI-Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed the Education Department (schools) to decentralise primary school management by handing over administrative and financial powers to headmasters (HM) of grade BS-19.

The chief minister issued the directives on Wednesday while presiding over a meeting held to review development schemes of the education department (school) and work out new uplift portfolio for the next financial year. The meeting was attended by education Minister Syed Sardar Shah, Chairperson P&D Naheed Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Education Kazi Shahid Pervez, Secretary Finance Najam Shah, Secretary (Colleges) Pervez Sihar, Secretary P&D Shireen Narejo, Chief Economist Fatah Tunio and other officers concerned. The chief minister said that decentralization of primary school management by empowering headmasters of grade BS-19 with administrative and financial powers. “This will be the best way to utilise budget at primary school level,” he emphasised.

It is to be noted that currently, Rs2 billion of school specific budget and Rs500 million for innovative initiatives are under the control of education department. The schools through their DEOs and directors keep requesting the secretariat to release their budget and it took a long time to trickle down effects of the funds.

The provincial secretary for education briefed the chief minister that 201 schemes, including 199 on-going and two new were in progress with an allocation of Rs15.15 billion against, which Rs8.5 billion has been released while expenditures by end April have been recorded at Rs4.3 million.

The department proposed to start 149 new schemes in the next ADP. AT this the chief minister said that he would have a very thin allocation for new schemes. “I am trying to complete the on-going schemes on priority basis in the next budget,” he said.

The education minister said that he had a plan to construct 179 two-room buildings for shelterless primary schools in 19 districts with a proposed cost of Rs1.168 billion. He also proposed rehabilitation of 29 high enrolment dangerous primary/elementary school buildings for Rs2.6 billion.

The chief minister directed the education department to prepare a scheme under which students of government schools could be provided transport facility. “This facility should be provided to those schools where different schools such as primary to higher secondary are housed,” he elaborated his point.

Mr Shah expressed his dissatisfaction on the professional teaching quality right from primary to secondary. “We must focus on teachers training and those [teachers] have no capacity to teach should be sent to other wings of the school education.

Minister Education Sardar Shah proposed to create music teachers positions. In the next phase he proposed to appoint English, maths, science and music teachers in secondary schools. “Music will relax the students and inculcate their learning instincts,” he said.

The chief minister directed Education department to have a separate meeting with Planning & development and Finance department for including new schemes in the next budget.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTRE TO BE SETUP AT ICCBS

International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi (UoK) will setup an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre at its campus.

ICCBS-UoK Director Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Ch stated while speaking at a meeting with a delegation of Chinese higher officials held at Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), of the KU.

A delegation of 10 scientists and government higher officials from China Guangdong Province on Wednesday visited ICCBS - University of Karachi to learn about the latest research development at the country’s premier research establishment, and to discuss academic goals in teaching and in research and on areas of common interest.

Prof Iqbal Ch welcomed the foreign delegation led by Prof Dr Ruijun Wang, Director General, Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province. The delegation comprises of Dr Lu ZENG, Dr Hanrong Wu, Dr Zhe XU, Dr Huang Rong, Dr Zeng An, Dr Li Lei, Dr Jiancheng Lyu, Dr Youngzhen Kuang, and Dr Li Dingqiang. It is pertinent to mention here that these officials are associated with Guangdong Department of Science and Technology, Guangdong University of Technology, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, and Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou. During the visit, the delegates also listened to a lecture and presentation given by Pakistani scientists in Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi. In the meeting, Prof Iqbal Ch discussed joint academic programs, research collaboration, academic and scholars exchange, with the overall objective of establishing a Centre of Excellence in Information Technologies.

He told other officials of the international centre that an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre is being setup at the centre, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed between Chinese and Pakistani authorities. He said that one institute of the same nature would also be established at Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology (PAF-IAST) in Haripur District of KP. The International Centre is one of Pakistan’s most eminent centres of excellence, and one of the finest academic research establishments of chemical and biology sciences in the world, he said.a