The Punjab government has decided to start evening school shifts from next academic year starting from March 2019,  in order to accommodate students in overcrowded primary schools, was said by Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Jawan Bakhat Hashim during the review meeting of the Annual Development Programme (ADP).

While chairing meeting he said education is one of the focal concerns of the new government, as poverty eradication was not possible without improving the literacy rate of the country. Punjab Education Minister for school Murad Raas, Planning and Development Department Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani, Finance Secretary Hamid Yaqoob Sheikh, School Education Secretary Zafar Iqbal and other official concern were also present in the meeting.

While sharing the details of the plan, the Finance minister said the program will be launched under the Insaf School Programme and will utilise the existing school buildings for evening shifts with the aim to increase student enrolments and make maximum use of the available resources. The minister also directed the School Education Department officials to utilise technical know-how of the finance and planning and development departments and international development partners of the Punjab government.

Jawan Bakhat Hashim instructed the department’s officers to work on the Medium-Term Budgetary Framework (MTBF), while taking the stakeholders on board for better planning and utilisation of the available resources. He said MTBF will assist in the future planning and drafting of the fiscal budget of the coming year.

Punjab School Education Minister Murad Raas said that the first priority of the department was to work on the dilapidated school buildings to end the concerns of parents, along with ensuring the provision of basic facilities in these schools. He also suggested to increase the number of classrooms in primary schools at less developed areas as well as at the newly constructed school building.

Secretary School Education Zafar Iqbal briefed the meeting about the workings of the department. He said 48 percent of the total allocated development budget under the ADP has been utilised, while additional resources were required to complete the ADP schemes. He also said the department was working to identify the districts that were deprived or lagged behind in the provision of basic education facilities. He said shortage of funds or delay in releasing of funds to the department were affecting the timely completion of ongoing development projects of the education sector.

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