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KP to make education compulsory for all, regulate private institutions

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would introduce three bills for legislation to make education compulsory for every child, regularise private education institutions and recruit school-specific and non-transferable government teachers.

The decisions were taken at the first high-level stocktaking meeting of Elementary and Secondary Education (E & SE) and Higher Education Department (HED). Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak co-chaired the meeting, said a handout.

The Universities Model Act, presently under consideration of the vice-chancellors, would be implemented by March, next year. It is to effectively administer activities of public sector universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Academic activities at the newly established Women University, Mardan, will also commence from March 2016 to provide higher education facilities to female students from entire province in general and from Mardan, Charsada, Nowshera and Malakand districts in particular, said the communiqué.

Minister for E & SE, Muhammad Atif, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for HED Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani, Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Dr Hamad Agha, Principal Secretary to the chief minister Dr Shahzad Bangash, Secretaries of relevant departments and a team of Department of International Development (DFID), UK, led by its Islamabad-based head, also attended the meeting.

Imran Khan highlighted the party’s guidelines for improving the education sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He emphasised the need for advancement of the college and university level standards of education.

The PTI chief asked the provincial government to take steps for making the college level educational institutions fully autonomous and responsible.He said that since colleges were feeding universities, therefore, their standards must be raised to the optimum level. To achieve this goal, he added, principals of the colleges must also be made answerable.

Imran Khan stressed the need for strengthening HED at the strategic level to ensure that skills of graduates are highly employable. He said the present KP government must make difference in its performance compared to the other two parties which had been in power for six times.

The PTI chief also proposed to showcase the implementation of “School Improvement Plans” in 64 schools by Rs 33.29 million which were raised through donations, for further fund mobilization through social media.

Thanking DFID for helping the KP government to improve the standards of education, the chief minister said the provincial government was making all required financial resources available for the education sector and spending 29 percent of its budget for improving the state of education and it did not get even a single penny loan for this purpose.

The chief minister directed the HED to accelerate the work on the establishment of university in Chitral. He ordered transport facility to the teaching staff of government colleges within this month.

Briefing the meeting on priorities, the progress and current status as well as timelines set for achieving the goals in E & SE and HED, Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed, head of the Strategic Support Unit of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, said the Law Department had vetted the draft legislation for making school education compulsory for all children in KP and it would be implemented by June 2016.

The official said that draft of Universities Model Act had been sent to the vice-chancellors for their inputs and comments. It has been planned by the provincial government to implement it by March 2016 onwards to oversee activities of the public sector universities, he added.

Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed said that merit would be ensured for school-based recruitment of teachers. “Posting and transfers will be checked and availability of teachers will be ensured through another proposed law which had been sent to the Law Department for vetting and it would be implemented by the next April,” he explained.

The meeting was informed that vouchers were distributed under Education Vouchers Scheme to enroll 30,000 out of school children identified in six districts of Peshawar, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Mardan, Mansehra and Swat.

Secretary E & SE and Finance Ali Raza Bhutta revealed that an amount of Rs9.8 billion had been released for providing missing facilities in 14,692 government schools and provision of these facilities would be completed by December 31, this year.

He expressed satisfaction at training and professional development programme launched for the college teachers and directed to install biometric system in 50 colleges to improve governance and teachers attendance. The official offered to enhance seed money for already created Rs one billion Endowment Fund for supporting KP domiciled MS, M. Phil and Ph.D. scholars and directed to disburse payments to the scholars enrolled in nine prestigious institutions of Pakistan and top 10 universities abroad.

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