Friday, July 20, 2012

Pakistan's Ghost Schools

ISLAMABAD: A federal government education project worth over Rs8 billion, the Basic Education Community Schools (BECS), is stinking badly and feeding more than 8,000 ghost schools in the country, including the federal capital, a member of the Planning Commission and Board of Directors of the National Education Foundation (NEF) has revealed.

Planning Commission Member Mohayyuddin Marri told The News the funding of the BECS project had been stopped in the current fiscal year as the Planning Commission wanted its revision to check the irregularities and corruption.

When approached, NEF MD Nasir Hayat, who has been recently given this assignment, said his organisation had approached the Finance Ministry for the release of funds for recurring expenditure of the project. He said he did not know that the funding for the project had been stopped. Nasir Hayat, however, did not agree with the figure of ghost schools as quoted by Mohayyuddin Marri, who is also a member of the NEF BoD.Hayat said the figure of ghost schools was only around 800. He said he himself was not satisfied the way the project was being run in the past and for the same reasons, he recently issued a show cause notice to all the four provincial directors for their utter failure to effectively supervise the project.

Hayat said a total of 13,094 schools all over Pakistan were run under this project, whose two years extension was being sought by the NEF. According to Mohayyuddin Marri, more than half of these schools are ghost schools and the huge funds allocated for them go into the pockets of a few. Marri, who hails from Balochistan, said on papers there are 750 schools in Balochistan but on the ground one would hardly find 250.

Read it all here.

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