Sweep Before One’s Own Door

When every aspect of life is subject to political opportunism and gains, politicians seldom look at the ground realities. While criticizing the Sindh government for its abysmal performance in the education sector, Imran Khan shuts his eyes from what is going on in the province where his party is in power. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

As the elementary and secondary education department of KP has closed down more than 1000 primary schools, the reasons the department gives for the step include low enrollment and waste of billions of rupees on keeping these schools operational. While constructing these schools criteria were violated. What is depressing is that PTI government is also following the footsteps of the past regimes. CM Pervaiz Khattak is caring little of upholding the rules and regulations in this regard.

Due to the interference of the CM, education department cannot work diligently, as the officials of the organization lack power to construct a school on a need basis. Instead of deliberating on how to increase the enrolment in the province, the CM is building schools to please his constituencies and those of his MPAs. If these practices of the CM do not constitute the misuse of funds, the overreach of authority, then what else does? Leaving all powers in the hands of one person and unchecked powers make a great room for corruption as well.

What is the purpose of constructing schools if there are no children to attend them? The problem with us is that our definitions of development are truncated. We appreciate concrete structures in the form of buildings, roads, flyover, underpasses, and bridges. Our rulers do not invest in human development. According to a report of UN published last year, almost 22 million children in Pakistan do not have access to education. If the facts provided by the KP government are considered accurate, 1.5 million children are deprived of education facilities in the province.

If Imran Khan and PTI leadership find some time out of their busy schedule, which is devoted to hurling criticism at other political parties, they need to focus on improving the affairs of education in KP. The closing of schools shows that the provincial government has failed in implementing Article 25-A of the Constitution, which makes it incumbent upon all the provinces to provide free education to all children of age 5 to 16.

Instead of allowing the education department to shut down schools because of low enrolment of children the PTI officials need to put their heads together on devising a strategy to bring the children to the schools.

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