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Balochistan govt withdraws Rs1b education funds

The Balochistan government has withdrawn the authorisation for the release of Rs1 billion funds earmarked for the provision of potable water and toilet facilities in government schools across the province where 90 percent institutes lack these facilities.

In a letter addressed to the secretary of the Balochistan Finance Department, Planning and Development Department’s Education Section Chief Abdul Rahim said that the authorisation of the Rs1 billion funds has been withdrawn for the release for the scheme “Chief Minister’s Programme for the Provision of Drinking Water and Toilets” reflected in PSDP 2016-17 at S No 1539.

There is much space and room for reforms in Balochistan’s crippled and roughly administered education sector. Overwhelmed political peeping, unenthusiastic willpower for educational transformation and felonious silence of the people at the helm of affairs purportedly has landed the sector into a locus of ‘black hole’- whereas it has turned like white elephant consuming more funds but progress is seen nowhere.

This reporter tried enough to include account of the Education Ministry over the aberrant negligence, but to no avail even after strenuous efforts.

This over-decades norm of no reform tradition in Balochistan education setup has cherished ‘coordinated mafias’ – teachers associations mafia, professors mafia and clerics mafia – at the price of nation’s dream of development and progress strangling.

The government lags far behind meeting the targets envisaged in Balochistan Education Sector Plan promulgated in 2013 by the ruling government to achieve access, quality and governance in education.

Pregnant with so many multifarious managerial and curriculum centered quandaries, a survey of the Real Time School Monitoring System fully backed by United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Global Partnership for Education (GPE) was conducted in Balochistan. The survey limelight is enough for raising eyebrows and draw attention towards revitalising accountability and improving performance of teachers from top level to bottom.

“During the last 12 months, 10,788 of 12,987 schools in Balochista were visited for monitoring purpose,” revealed the survey report.

The report available for access of general public on website of Education Department (www.emis.gob.pk), unveiled further throbbing facts by conscripting, “28% of the 10788 schools visited in past 12 months were reported as non-functional or closed.”

This incorporates a large number of girls’ schools and many of the closed schools are also of middle and high levels. The report goes further chilling readers’ acumen by delineating that “25 per cent of the schools visited do not have a building at all.”  The catastrophe rising out of decades long blipping governance does not come to an end here “As 90 per cent schools visited do not have a toilet facility, whereas in the schools which have this facility, only 50 % of the toilets are useable.” The state of available drinkable water also amounts up to 36 per cent in the visited schools.

Not to lament of far-flung schools’ sorry state of affairs, the institutes in provincial capital are worthy of condolence as even admitted by the officials. The Quetta schools of course have these challenges especially in girls’ institutes, admitted Gul Muhammad Kakar, the deputy district education officer of Quetta. He added there prevails disparity amongst the ratio of drinkable water conundrum and toilet facility in the Metropolis schools.

“Up to 40 percent schools are missing potable water in City schools while toilet facility may be missing in 15 to 20 percent institutes,” Kakar said. Just guesstimate the indifferent determination behind transformation of outlandish Balochistan education sector when its ministry fails even to materialise Rs1000 million fund allocated under Chief Minister’s Programme for drinkable and toilet facilities in schools in a time when schools paint extremely gloomy picture.

“Approximately 80 per cent schools in Gwadar – flexing muscle to revolutionise region through its port – have neither drinkable water nor toilet facility,” said Munier Ahmed Nodezai, the district education officer of Gwadar. Not to speak of 24 percent allocation of fund for education in 2017-18 fiscal year of financial planning in the province, the learning and teaching environment – comprising availability of timetables, syllabus, textbooks, notebooks and uniform – also notified in alarming position.

Since then its foundation laid in 1956, the Government Boys Middle School Abrahimzai Pishin is sans potable water and toilet facilities.

“Our Govt Boys Middle School Abrahimzai with 250 students lacks essential facilities of water and toilet,” Qari Abdul Haq, a teacher shared saga of his school. The efforts being channelised to amend flaws of education sector fall short of expectations. An all-out effort is yet awaiting ahead to kick out the dilemma of ghost teachers, schools and students, while facilities, either it be drinkable water or toilets, have never been frankly paid substantial heed.

Khan, Shairf. Balochistan govt withdraws Rs1b education funds. The Nation, August 7, 2017.

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