Islamabad - Education sector in the federal capital under the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division saw no revolutionary changes in the outgoing year 2017, said an official on Tuesday.

Though the sector moved a little forward but snail’s pace of work dominated the positive indicators, the official added.

The present government had launched the Prime Minister Education Reforms Programme (PMERP) worth Rs2.74 billion to uplift the education sector in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). A total of 422 educational institutions were to be upgraded in three categories including re-construction, provision of transport facility and improvement in quality of education under the programme.

Around 250,000 students are enrolled in morning and evening shifts in educational intuitions being regulated by Federal Directorate of Education (FDE). The ministry of CADD had vowed to upgrade all the educational institutions but it still looks a distant dream 018, said the official.

“Since commencement of the PMERP in 2015, only 22 intuitions were upgraded by providing missing facilities, while in 2017, uplift works began in 200 institutions, which are still underway,” he said.

The official added that execution of the programme was a challenge for CADD and FDE. He said that the earlier plan of implementation through PMERP was changed; a new task force was constituted and the project was awarded to a contactor of the CADD. “The FDE has significant role in surveying and identifying the areas to be fixed but the directorate remained deprived of a permanent director general in 2017 as well,” said the official.

The official said that delay in re-construction and renovation works had also affected educational activities of the students. The work could not be completed during the summer vacations and is still underway even as winter vacations are ahead, said the official. “Also, soon after the work started, complaints regarding quality of construction work were reported from different corners,” he said.

A principal of a model college while requesting anonymity said that the renovation works were being carried out without proper planning. The renovation and provision of missing facilities included construction of boundary walls, washrooms, classrooms and provision of furniture.  

The principal also said that against the announced 200 buses, only 70 were actually handed over to the educational institutions. He said that demand from the students regarding registration for buses was high but the ministry failed in giving maximum buses to the educational intuitions.

Similarly, the FDE is facing a shortage of around 3,500 teachers, particularly for science subjects, but no practical measures were taken to address the issue. “The absorption of 2,000 daily-wage teachers was less than the required number of teaching staff,” said the principal.

The principal said that during the outgoing year as well, the CADD remained at loggerheads with the daily-wage employees without taking the matter to logical conclusion. The principal said that the ministry also failed in finding solution to the admission problem faced by the students every year. “These issues still exist and no pragmatic steps have been taken to end these problems,” he said.

President Federal Government Teachers Association Malik Ameer while talking to The Nation said that though every target could not be achieved in the year but some positive things did happen. He said that renovation of the institutions, provision of buses and teachers training were positive steps taken by the ministry. “Something is better than nothing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Advisor on PMERP Ali Raza declared the outgoing year as successful in which, he said, implementation on the programme was started. He said that renovation of 200 schools was started this year which, he said, would likely complete in February 2018, while, he added, PC-1 for remaining 200 institutions had also been prepared.

He added that provision of 130 remaining buses was under process and a comprehensive transport facility programme had been handed over to the FDE for future.

The advisor said that under the programme, restructuring of the FDE was also initiated. He said that inclusion of area education officers (AEOs) in the system produced positive results as it improved attendance and performance of the teaching staff.

“Rules have been made under Article 25-A of the Constitution which after approval from legislative forums will be the first to implement in the country,” he said. He said that the city needed proper utilisation of the existing infrastructure instead of building new schools. “The PMERP team kept its promise in 2017 and gave rules and regulations to the FDE which it will implement in coming years,” he said.