The federal government released funds of Rs422 million in a bid to complete the ongoing reconstruction and renovation process of 200 schools in the federal capital, under the PM’s reforms programme.
The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) said the restoration process had been paused in almost all schools, causing inconvenience for students and the teachers. The reconstruction and renovation drive was halted due to the unavailability of funds and payments to the constructors. As a result, work in 200 schools remained suspended since November of last year.
As per the official sources, reconstruction work of 90 schools has been completed so far. The FDE officials are yet to take control of the schools as they did not want to get involved in a project which is being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau over accusations of substandard work.
Schools are being renovated under the Prime Minister’s Reforms Programme which started under the previous government. FDE Director General Syed Umair Javed said that the directorate had no direct role in the project because it was being executed by a team formed by the now-defunct Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD).
The FDE and PM’s reforms programme were handed over to the Ministry of Education after the CADD was shut down. “The work is incomplete, whenever it will be completed as per SOP, we will take over the schools,” said DG FDE.
Few other officials of the FDE said the project remained unfinished since October of 2018 which created difficulties for students. They said: “The project should be completed on a priority basis”.
An official involved in the project said the federal government released funds of Rs422, a few days back. “Now we have restarted work in eight schools and after Ramazan, the work will get momentum,” the official cited. He also said that the renovation of 200 institutions would be completed by July 15.
“In November, the project was halted because of a shortage of funds. Now, we have funds but because of Ramazan the contractors are facing a shortage of labourers.” The official said the last instalment of Rs254m would be released in a few months.
Under the reforms programme, 422 educational institutions in Islamabad will be revamped, out of which 22 were to be renovated in the first phase, 200 in the second and 200 in the third phase of the proposed plan. Federal Government Teacher Association President Malik Ameer said because students were suffering because of the incomplete work.
“The project should be completed on a priority otherwise the already completed work will be of no use,” he said, adding there were several concerns on the quality of the work being done.“Substandard work was carried out in the schools. Particularly, the construction of the washrooms and sewerage system is highly substandard,” he added.