In one of the prioritised sectors of the Punjab government, the incumbent dispensation has failed to fill vacant seats in schools, and institutions’ buildings are either in dilapidated condition or are yet to be completed despite a lapse of three years.
Also sports facilities are found missing from the public sector schools, which have been further depleted because of illegal occupation of grounds. Moreover, the school tournaments have almost become non-existent, while the government is yet to take tangible steps in this regard.
This came to the fore when the Punjab Assembly on Friday took the Question-Hour on Education Department (Schools). Provincial Minister Education Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman was repeatedly told by the members about the wrong answers submitted by the department, who ultimately mentioned that District Officer-Education and Executive District Officer-Education of district Chiniot had been suspended and issued show-cause notice respectively. He also conceded that the answer to the query of PPP’s Syed Hassan Murtaza was wrong. When the minister did not hesitate in admitting the mistake, two members raised voice of ‘fixed match’ to which neither the minister or the mover paid heed.
Earlier, PML-N’s Waseem Qadir – a player of hockey and having supervised matches as international umpire in Norway – grilled the minister by asserting that the game was being ignored by the government, and only two percent of the official version was being done, while most of the talk was in the papers only. PPP’s Fauzia Behram demanded that the government should have exact knowledge about the sports in order to have concrete decisions aimed at gaining positive results.
The Minister maintained that his government was doing its best to keep the games on track, and more funds would be given to the sector this year in comparison to the last year when Rs 170 million were allocated. “It was primarily because of the floods that the government could not pay due attention to the area last year,” asserted the Minister.
While replying to a question about number of vacant seats in schools, the Minister mentioned that in Lahore only, 37 seats of science teachers were vacant in 27 secondary schools, which were not filled yet because of transfer, promotion or retirement. “The draft of the recruitment policy 2011-12 as per vacancy position across Punjab is ready, and will be sent to the Chief Minister soon for his nod,” he told the House.
To another question, the Minister mentioned that the government was on course to fill 4286 slots of information technology teachers.
The House was also told that a mill owner had occupied playground of Government Nishat Model Middle School Faisalabad since 1988, and so far the case was pending with the civil court.
Mian Mujtaba also mentioned that the government was trying to provide facilities to the public sector under a phased-programme, and funds had been diverted to the district government for taking care of the matter. Also District Steering Committees, headed by the District Coordination Committees, had been constituted for handling the issue.