Punjab Govt considers education as a tool to development
Record funds allocated for school and higher education
While education is a prime factor in economic and social well being of any nation apart from a strategic tool in nation building through skill development, investment education sector is of prime importance.
Punjab government has achieved several milestones in student enrolment, availability and functionality of facilities, in teacher quality and student and teacher attendance. Punjab Schools Reforms Roadmap is a success story and being implemented. Education is of paramount importance for overcoming problems like terrorism, extremism, poverty and unemployment being faced by the country.
Under the new phase of Schools Reforms Roadmap, “Parho Punjab — Barho Punjab,” the target of enrolment of every male and female child till 2018 has been set in the province of Punjab. In the new phase the students studying in schools will have to give correct answers to at least 85-percent questions in examination, which will help improve standard of education as well as abilities of students.
Provincial Ministers, Chief Secretary, Secretaries, heads of different departments, Commissioners, RPOs, DCOs and DPOs will also adopt a school.
Punjab government has made investment of billions of rupees in education sector during the last about seven years, however, this journey is very long and much is still to be done for uplifting the education sector.
There are still a number of schools which lack educational facilities. There is a need to provide missing facilities in all schools as quality education is equal right of every child of Punjab which has to be ensured.
By setting up Daanish schools in the most backward areas of the province, Punjab government has provided quality educational facilities to the poorest of the poor children. Daanish school system is running very successfully for the last five years and besides free education, boarding and lodging facilities are also provided to poor and destitute children at these educational institutions.
Govt’s historic effort
In Punjab, Educational Endowment Fund has been set up first time in the history of the country with a sum of Rs12 billion and more than 85 thousand talented but deserving students are receiving education in local and foreign educational institutions with the help of this fund. All federating units of Pakistan have been included in this program. Through educational fund, such scholars are being prepared, which will change the destiny of Pakistan and will play an important role in achieving the goal of national progress and prosperity.
About 1.6 million male and female children are getting education under the voucher scheme of Punjab Education Foundation while more than 100,000 teachers have been recruited in Punjab purely on merit basis and are being imparted quality training.
Moreover, Punjab Skills Development Program is also continuing successfully in Punjab with the cooperation of DFID (Department of International Development – United Kingdom) and various skills are being imparted to the youth under this program.
Good governance in meeting the target
According to Punjab Minister for Finance, Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Punjab government distributed solar lamps among the 200,000 students last year with a cost of Rs2.5 billion under Ujala Program so that load shedding could not disrupt their study. During current fiscal year, laptops and solar lamps are being distributed among the students on merit under a transparent system.
He said that terrorism and unemployment can be wiped out through promotion of quality education. He said that there is a need to utilize national resources equitably for setting up of a peaceful society and economic prosperity of the masses whereas problems like corruption, safarish and unemployment can be controlled through good governance and transparency.
He said that Punjab government considers education as a tool to development and record funds have been provided for school and higher education. He said that Rs2.40 billion has been provided for non formal basic education to 2 million illiterate persons.
Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman said that due to practical measures of Punjab Chief Minister, the enrollment of students in government schools had been enhanced to 11.273 million. He said that Head of DFID Richard Montgomery has maintained that textbooks have been provided in schools for the first time before the start of new academic session, which is a splendid achievement of Punjab government and an example of good governance.
He said that British educationist Sir Michael Barber while lauding the efforts of Punjab government, said that the attendance of teachers in schools has considerably improved due to implementation of the reforms program being jointly implemented by Punjab government and DFID and the rate of attendance of teachers in schools of the Punjab has reached up to the level of the British schools.
Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman said that Punjab government has recruited 140,000 educators last tenure and more educators will be recruited within few months to accomplish the target of 100% literacy rate in the province. He commended the vision of Mian Shahbaz Sharif for launching free distribution schemes of laptops and solar lamps to appreciate the brilliant students. This will also help to reduce the dropout rate in the schools of far flung areas of the province. He further revealed that DFID has given assent to provide a grant in aid to the tune of Rs351 million to construct 15,000 additional class rooms, one additional class room for each public sector school having deficient facilities.
Under various initiatives taken in Punjab, it is expected that better results are set to appear in time ahead in education sector.