Lawmakers fear rains could further damage over 400 schools of federal capital

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Zubair Qureshi

A sub-committee of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Professional Education & Training has expressed concerns over the poor condition of Islamabad schools and feared in the prevailing rains the already rusty buildings of federal schools could be further damaged.
Senators raised serious questions over the Ministry and Directorate’s performance and observed lack of maintenance had further deteriorated over 400 government schools in urban and rural areas of the federal capital.
The sub-committee also reviewed rules and subjects set by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the Ph.D scholars. Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed presided over the meeting. He is also the convener of the committee to review schools’ maintenance and repair work.
Senior officials of the Ministry, HEC and the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) attended the meeting. Sen Rana Maqbool was of the view that Islamabad’s schools should have been model institutions both in building and teaching standards for the rest of the schools in the country.
On the contrary, they themselves are in urgent need of repair and, upkeep and face lift, he observed. If a school building comes down causing deaths or injuries to the children and their teachers or other staff, who will be responsible he asked.
Additional Secretary Ministry of Professional Education & Training Anwarul Hassan Bukhari while briefing the senators admitted Islamabad’s schools were in bad condition and required urgent repairing and maintenance work.
He told the committee that Ministry along with the FDE had surveyed Islamabad’s 423 schools and it was found out majority of them needed urgent maintenance and repairing work.
However, he told the lawmakers the Ministry’s 90pc funds were spent on pays, pensions and non-development expenditures. Public Works Department (PWD) is bound to carry out maintenance and repairing and refurbishing work of the schools but, here again the contracting firm demands funds that are not available with the ministry, he said.
Senator Javed Abbasi was of the view that a few years back, schools in urban areas of Islamabad were in better condition but due to lack over oversight and absence of proper maintenance they too are now in poor shape. He said the committee should conduct a comprehensive survey and submit a report to the government with regard to proper maintenance and upkeep of Islamabad’s 423 schools. Senator Muhammad Ali Saif taking part in the debate said schools in the rural areas of Islamabad called for government’s urgent attention as their buildings are in poor shape, drinking water is either absent or polluted and toilets are also in poor condition.

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