LAHORE  - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said Punjab School Reforms Programme is leaving ‘a very positive impact’ on education and attendance of teachers in schools.

“Enrollment campaign is continuing vigorously throughout the province. The target of admission of 40 lakh students to schools would be achieved and enrollment of all children of the province in schools would be ensured by 2016,” he said while presiding over a meeting on progress of Punjab Education School Reforms Roadmap Monday.

Special representative on education of British Department for International Development (DFID) Sir Michael Barber briefed the meeting. Head of DFID Richard Montgomery, Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning & Development, concerned secretaries and members of the Roadmap team were also present on the occasion.

 Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that the goal of progress and prosperity of the country can be achieved by imparting modern education to the young generation. He said that provision of resources for equipping youth with modern education and knowledge is not expenditure but useful investment in the future of the country. He said that keeping in view this fact, Punjab government has adopted a solid policy for the uplift of education sector and huge resources are being spent for this purpose. He said that utilization of the released funds on the provision of missing facilities in schools would be ensured by the end of the current fiscal year.

He said that an amount of more than seven billion rupees has been provided for the provision of missing facilities in schools across the province while funds of more than five billion rupees have been utilized so far for this purpose. Shahbaz Sharif said that for the purpose of promotion of quality education, more than one lakh 40 thousand teachers have been recruited on merit and in a highly transparent manner during the last five years while this process is also continuing during the current year.

He said that the number of teachers in schools is being rationalized with the ratio of students. The Chief Minister further said that administrative control of the schools of Cholistan has been handed over to Schools Department which will help in promoting education in this far-flung area.

He further said that Punjab Education Foundation is playing a vital role in promotion of education and 125 new schools of south Punjab have been included in the educational programme of the Foundation. In this way, he said, the total number of schools under the control of the Foundation has reached 3600 where 15 lakh boy and girl students are studying. The Chief Minister directed that immediate measures be taken for evolving digital monitoring system for checking attendance of teachers in schools so as to further improve Education Reforms Programme and Punjab Information Technology Board should evolve a comprehensive mechanism for this purpose.

He said that for the first time textbooks have been provided in schools

before the start of the academic session so that timely provision of

textbooks to the students could be ensured. He further said that modern

training is of vital importance for capacity building of teachers and a

comprehensive training programme be devised for this purpose.

                        British educationist Sir Michael Barber informed

that attendance of teachers in schools has considerably improved due to

implementation of the reforms programme being jointly implemented by Punjab

government and DFID and the rate of attendance of teachers in schools of

the Punjab has reached up to the level of the British schools. He commanded

the role and measures taken by the Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz

Sharif for the promotion of education in the province. He said that Punjab

Education Foundation has achieved its targets of promotion of education.

The head of DFID Richard Montgomery said that textbooks have been provided

in schools for the first time before the start of new academic session

which is a splendid achievement of Punjab government and an example of good

governance.