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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Punjab govt schools & laptop's scheme

17,020 govt schools lack basic amenities in Punjab: survey
Islamabad, April 19: As many as 10,020 government schools, both primary and high, across Punjab remain without latrines and over 7,000 are deprived of clean drinking water facility, as the provincial government pushes ahead with its free distribution of laptops among brilliant students, a scheme costing it well over Rs4 billion.
A survey by the Ministry of Education Punjab for 2010-11 has made startling revelations, which arguably makes the multi-billion laptops scheme highly questionable and needless in the given exceedingly deplorable state of the government schools, which reflects a huge disconnect between the on-ground situation and the lavishly publicised laptop scheme.
Education experts believe that a nation moves forward on the basis of conducive and enabling environment in educational institutions. They pointed out young girls' school drop-out remains alarmingly high and one of the major reasons of this worrying trend is non-availability of latrines inside their schools.
They billed the laptop policy as a political gimmick, which was performed by young generation of PML-N such as Hamza Shahbaz and Maryam Nawaz, not holding any government position. "Our students desperately need provision of basic facilities such as clean drinking water, latrines, electricity and boundary walls. First ensure these and then you may go for laptops policy," they contended.
A representative of an NGO claimed that whenever a donor agency intended to extend aid or grand for educational institutions, their prime focus was on provision of latrines and clean drinking water.
A senior office-bearer of PML-N, which heads the provincial government, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, agreed that side by side with the laptop scheme, attention must also be paid towards the condition of schools.
Senator Mushahidullah, who is also PML-N Central Information Secretary, said that apart from the laptop scheme, the provincial government was setting up IT labs in 4286 schools besides improving the school infrastructure.
He claimed the government schools situation in general had improved during the last four years but conceded things were yet to improve in far-flung areas and a lot of work needed to be done there.
The PML-N senator also agreed that revolutionary changes needed to be carried out in the education sector and said everybody wanted drastic measures but these could not be done overnight.
There are a total of 59,054 schools in the government sector, electricity is available only in 38,588 (65%) of them, whereas 10,000 (17%) are without boundary walls and despite rapid deterioration in drinking water quality, clean drinking water is not available in over 7,000 schools

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