Govt schools attract inflation-hit parents

LAHORE:

The Punjab education ministry has prepared a policy to admit 10 percent additional students in all government schools across the province.

According to provincial government officials, about 11.8 million children are currently enrolled in the government schools of the province.

The officials said they expected the number of admissions this year to surpass the target as a large section of the poor and middle class population were returning to admit their children to government schools because of a steep increase in the admission and monthly fees of the private educational institutions.

The education and admission to the government schools are offered free of charge along with the textbooks.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government issued its new government school as in is soon policy in February, before its removal.

Under the policy, all school heads were given a free hand to give admissions while keeping in view the number of available classrooms and teachers.

However, after the return of the coalition to the government, the decision taken during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rule to increase the number of students by 10% has not been changed.

The chief executive officer of a District Education Authority said while speaking to The Express Tribune that all government schools were offering 10% new admissions

However, more children applying for admission to any school would also be accommodated, he added.

On the other hand, Punjab Teachers Union secretary general Rana Liaquat Ali said there were currently 90,000 vacancies of teachers of all categories in Punjab and also an immediate need for the recruitment of 30,000 teaching assistants.

He said the need for early recruitment to the posts would increase after the admission of the higher number of students to the schools.

He said recruitment of teachers had not been done in the past six years while the number of vacant seats was continuously increasing.

The admission process in the province’s government schools has been scheduled for August 1 to October 31.

The district officials have reportedly sought textbooks for free distribution among the higher number of students this year.

The delivery of new textbooks is likely to begin in the coming week, an official said.

All parents want to give good education for a better future of their children, but what can we do in such a situation when we are struggling for basic necessities of life. At a time when the people need economic relief, the private schools have increased their fees. I am preferring a government school because it was difficult for me to pay the heavy fee of private schools,” said Bashart Ali, a resident of Ravi Road Lahore.

“One year ago, my three kids were studying in a private school and I was struggling to pay their fees. I have lost my job and am driving a rickshaw nowadays. This is the reason I am sending my kids to a government school near my home. I am satisfied that my kids are going to school despite my financial problems,” said Mouzim Ali, a resident of Samanabad while speaking to The Express Tribune.

“Poverty, unemployment and current circumstances are forcing more citizens to send their children to government schools. A large number of parents are coming to our schools for admission of their children, which may increase the workload of our teachers,” said Government Boys High School Lahore Cantt Head Master Rana Khalid.

“We have limited facilities and resources but we are giving maximum admissions as education is the basic right of every child. Most parents are citing financial constraints as the reason for seeking admission here,” he added.

A local leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Ishaq Khan Kamri, said, “I have also enrolled my only son in a government school because of the economic conditions.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th2022.

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