In Pakistan, with the dawn of every new day, a new scam makes it to the national newspapers. The recent scandal is the presence of the ghost schools and ghost students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. The verification process tells us that out of 93,300 schools, 41592 schools were not genuine, and that only five districts were immune from the presence of ghost schools. The figure for such schools is alarming.

These schools, which exist just in papers, inflict enormous loss on the public exchequer. What is depressing and frustrating is the fact that the scandal has surfaced in the province of KP where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is enjoying its second term. It is the sixth year that PTI is governing the province. Five years term is a good time for a party to make significant changes in any sector.

The Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan Imran Khan has declared time and again that he would impose education emergency should he come to power. Yet five years of PTI rule in KP has still failed in reforming the education sector of the province. If PTI has failed in tackling the issue of ghost schools in KP as the official report reveals, how can the public rely on the government to reform sectors like education and health that are so significant in human development?

The report highlights one of the many issues that the state has been struggling with for a long time: ghost schools and ghost students. What is more, even the Bureau of Statistics (BoS) colluded in the scandal by registering thousands of ghosts out of school children (OOSC). The scandal shows that the PTI government failed on two accounts in KP. Firstly, it failed in tackling the issue of ghost schools and OOSC. Secondly, it could not eliminate corruption in the departments of KP while its leadership was busy in removing Mian Nawaz Sharif from the PM office on the charges of corruption.

The leadership of PTI needs to learn many lessons from this scandal. PTI cannot hide its poor performance under the excuse of inexperience. If the party cannot deliver on one of its most important promises, i.e., overhauling the education sector of and enhancing the literacy rate in the country then the PM’s dream of making Pakistan’s education sector the envy of regional countries will never come true.