LAHORE – Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal on Thursday directed the Education Minister to hold an inquiry into the negligence of the Education Department about not giving answers to the questions sent to it more than three years ago by the Assembly Secretariat.

During the question-hour, the Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman told the House that it was negligence of the department and he has already ordered inquiry into the matter. The Education Department had failed to provide answers to as many as 13 questions of the total 33 which were on the agenda for debate by the members. Many of them were forwarded to the department as late as 2008 but the answer was still awaited.

The Chair wanted the minister to let the house know about outcome of the inquiry and action taken against the officers responsible otherwise the House will itself initiate inquiry and do the needful. The Chair wanted the Minister to bring the negligence of the officers to the notice of the Chief Minister, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, also. Earlier, the 33rd session started one hour and a half late with the questions on Schools Education Department on the Government Business Day. The proceedings commenced with Fateha for Pir Pagara, youngest IT wizard Irfa Karim, MNA Azeem Daultana and journalist Mukarram Khan. On a question by Rahila Khadim Hussain the Minister told the House that the government is going to allocate separate funds in the next budget for establishing full fledged regular science laboratories in all high schools throughout the province. He said of the total 4286 high schools 1000 will have the laboratories as rest already have this facility. He said the members have also been given funds for upgradation of the schools in their respective constituencies which they could also use on setting up the science labs. He said Rs one billion funds allocated for schools were shifted to the flood relief works in the Punjab last year. Mian Naveed Anjum was dissatisfied with the answer and said non availability of labs at the schools amounts to playing with the future the students and depriving the country of future scientists.

To a question of Khadija Umar on the formation of any regulatory authority for keeping a check on the fees and other matters of the private institutions, the minister said the Chief Minister has last week set up a high level committee headed by senior adviser Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa which will present its recommendations in this regard in next three weeks following which a bill on the same will be presented to the house in the next session. 

The question hour proceedings by and large remained smooth although half an hour proceedings resumed after Maghrib prayers found very thin presence of the members.