LAHORE - The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) will expand its school assisted programme and more schools will be merged with the foundation by more funds from the government. This was assured by the PEF authorities to a delegation of the Federation of Registered Schools, Punjab which visited the PEF office on Thursday. The federation appreciated the PEF on successful completion of phase 5 of the Foundation Schools Assisted Programme. It also appreciated the policy of transparency and merit pursued by the PEF and paid tribute to PEF employees. The federation urged the PEF to focus on education system of backward areas of Southern Punjab and for merger of more schools in these areas with the PEF for assistance. The delegation also stressed the government to increase funds of the PEF to expedite its activities. They also appealed to the Chief Minister Punjab to extend the scope of the Foundation Schools Assisted Programme throughout the province to bring all the 34 districts out of ignorance and exploitation. Meanwhile, the Punjab Education Department has accorded approval to the upgradatin of existing facilities in more than 300 public-sector colleges with an estimated cost of about one billion rupees. Education department sources, while talking to APP, stated that out of 426, the total number of colleges in Punjab, more than 350 have been selected for this project which would be declared model colleges. The selected public-sector colleges would be equipped with Internet facility, fax-machines, LCDs, desk top computers, audio-video teaching-aids etc. New buses would also be provided to facilitate the students and improve the existing transport facilities in the colleges. The funds provided by Punjab government will be released by the Higher Education department during the current fiscal year. The decision has been taken by the government to eliminate disparity in education standards and to bring the public-sector colleges at par with the private sector institutions.