TAKING REVOLUTIONARY INITIATIVES FOR EDUCATION

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Dec 5 - 11, 20
11

The Punjab government led by its chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has taken revolutionary initiatives like setting up Daanish schools for the poor in backward areas, Punjab educational endowment fund, IT labs in schools and holding of speech and essay writing competitions apart from honoring position holders for the bright future of the youth.

Mr. Sharif is attaching priority to the promotion of education sector.

Official sources told PAGE that the government is committed to develop an enlightened and prosperous Punjab through improved governance, equitable access, quality education and ensuring achievement of education related millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015.

The primary focus is on provision of quality education in the province. The allocation for education sector for the financial year 2011-12 budget was of Rs23,900 million which is higher than the last year's provision. Chief minister's education sector reform road map is being implemented. Sub-sector wise key reforms and development initiatives are as under:

SCHOOL EDUCATION

PROVISION OF SCIENCE LABS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

To improve existing science labs in secondary schools and to strengthen science practical education, about 1000 high/higher secondary schools having highest enrollment are all set to get quality science equipment in the first phase.

Provision of Computer/IT Education in Elementary Schools

In order to better equip the students with IT education, 515 IT labs are being established in elementary schools in FY 2011-12.

Provision of Missing Facilities in High Schools for conversion into Model Schools

In order to uplift the standard of education, about 1000 high schools are being converted into model schools by providing infrastructure and missing facilities.

PUNJAB DAANISH SCHOOL SYSTEM & CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE

Daanish school and centre of excellence authority was established in 2010. As many as 15 Daanish schools are being established while 72 existing schools are being converted into centers of excellence.

In Phase-I, three Daanish Schools have been established at R.Y. Khan, Hasilpur (Bahawalpur) and Chishtian (Bahawalnagar). In addition to these, three schools are under construction at D.G. Khan, Piplan (Mianwali) and Jand (Attock). Poorest of the poor are getting education of international standards in these institutions.

COLLEGE EDUCATION

Provision of equitable and accessible education for all the citizens of the province is the commitment of the present government. A substantial allocation of Rs6,500 million has been made during the year 2011-12 for completion of ongoing schemes and initiation of new schemes. Major initiatives are:

PUNJAB EDUCATION ENDOWMENT FUND

Punjab educational endowment fund (PEEF) is an initiative of the government of Punjab with the objective of providing scholarships/monetary assistance to talented and needy students for pursuing quality education with equal opportunities. To make it autonomous in its functioning, the fund has been established under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984. The endowment fund was established initially with seed money of Rs2 billion. In the FY 2010-11, Rs2 billion was provided for the fund. In FY 2011-12, an amount of Rs2 billion would also be added to the fund. Special treatment will be given to the students of fifteen less developed districts of the Southern Punjab. Special quotas for orphans, children of government employees (up to BS-14), disabled, minorities and widows have also been allocated. Bright and needy students of other provinces including Azad Kashmir are being provided opportunities for higher education through this program.

PROVISION OF MISSING FACILITIES IN COLLEGES

The Punjab government has embarked upon a comprehensive plan to enhance the quality of college education with special focus on improvement of physical infrastructure of colleges. To complete the schemes under PESRP Phase-I, an allocation of Rs100 million has been made. However, an expenditure of Rs3536 million has already been incurred up to June 2011. For the provision of missing facilities in other colleges, an amount of Rs1460 million has also been allocated.

4-YEAR BACHELOR DEGREE PROGRAM

Higher education department has decided to introduce 4-year bachelor degree program in the public sector colleges throughout the province. For this purpose, 26 colleges have been identified so far. The scheme would be extended to all the colleges of the province in the coming years.

PROVISION OF POST GRADUATE BLOCKS

In order to promote higher education in the province, it has been decided to provide post graduate facility to all the colleges at district headquarters; for this purpose, three sites i.e. Government Islamia College for Boys & Girls, Narowal, Government Degree College for Boys, Rajanpur and Government Degree College for Boys, Lodhran have been identified where post graduate facility is not available either for male or for female population of the area.

ESTABLISHMENT OF COMPUTER LABS IN COLLEGES

Computer labs are planned in all colleges of Punjab in a phased manner. At present, public private partnership mode has been adopted by the department for computer education, which is expensive. Through this project, computer education will be provided in all colleges of the Punjab on nominal expenses and for the purpose, Rs30 million has been allocated to initiate the activity.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Government is trying to create conducive learning environment for the disabled students to make them self-reliant members of the society and to utilize their potential and skills in various spheres of life. A provision of Rs500 million has been made available in development program 2011-12.

ESTABLISHMENT/STRENGTHENING OF COMPUTER LABS IN THE INSTITUTIONS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION IN PUNJAB

The scheme aims at to provide IT equipment i.e. computers with LCD, key boards, mouse, laser printers, UPS, Braille embossers, and furniture to the disabled students of 37 institutions of special education in Punjab (middle level).

In the ADP 2011-12, an amount of Rs34.654 million has been allocated for this project.

According to the Punjab Chief Minister, the new generation is a precious asset and guarantee of bright future. All resources are being provided for equipping the new generation with modern knowledge.

Shabaz Sharif said that Punjab government is implementing a comprehensive strategy for improvement of education sector, polishing the abilities of the male and female students and encouraging them. He said that more than 30 thousand talented students have been benefited from Punjab educational endowment fund set up for the first time in the history of the country so far. He said that due to this revolutionary step, the dream of higher education of hardworking and talented students who could not continue their education due to financial constraints, has been materialized.

He said that modern facilities of education have been available to the elite and middle class during the last 64 years' history of the country but the marginal segment of the society remained deprived of these facilities. He said that a common and poor man has also equal right over the resources of the country and we launched the project of Daanish schools equipped with latest educational facilities in backward areas for this purpose.

He said that the merit of admission in these schools is only and only being a poor. He said that now orphan, poor, and hapless children are getting education from these schools. He said that not only poverty and ignorance will be eliminated through setting up of Daanish schools in these areas but it will also enhance the dignity and respect of male and female students.

He said that the world has become a global village and the development cannot be made without information technology. He said that Punjab government has taken an important step for the promotion of IT by setting up more than 4,000 IT labs from Attock to Rahimyar Khan, which are yielding far reaching results.

He said that essay and speech competition have been polishing the mental abilities of the students for the last three years under which prizes of Rs200 million are given to those showing best performance every year.