LAHORE: School management councils (SMCs) have been largely ineffectual due to paucity of instructors at nearly 50 per cent of the provinces public schools, a study carried out by the Punjab Coalition for Education (PCE) has revealed.
Researcher Saheem Khizar told The Express Tribune that the study—Do Schools get Money?—looked into delivery of funds to the SMCs and their utilisation.
He said the study had established that nearly 50 per cent of the funds allocated to the councils were spent on construction.
Khizar said one to two per cent of the funds were used to recruit teachers. He said the study had found that paucity of teachers was the most formidable challenge bedevilling public schools.
Khizar said 11 percent of public schools had been making do with just one teacher while nearly 30 per cent had just two.
He said the figures included volunteers and instructors recruited by the SMCs on salaries below minimum wage.
Khizar said that while schools were getting the non-salary budget, utilisation of funds had not been prioritised adequately.
He said most of the funds were spent on construction and buying furniture while schools grappled with a paucity of teachers.
Khizar said the approach would not work and merely providing funds would not remedy the problem.
He said parents and other stakeholders had to play a proactive role in this regards as they were represented in the SMCs.
The study covered 24 districts nationwide, in which 10 districts were studied in the Punjab, with 100 schools being surveyed per district.
The 10 districts were Bahawalpur, Chakwal, Chiniot, Hafizabad, Kasur, Lodhran, Mianwali, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Sahiwal.
The study collected data from a total of 2,312 primary schools nationwide. Information pertaining to student enrolment and attendance, teacher demographics, SMC structure and missing facilities was also gathered.
Only 1 in 10 schools surveyed said they had not received funds. The coalition also analysed how SMCs had utilised the funds.
The study found that a considerable proportion of funds had been devoted to financing construction of new installations. Repair and maintenance work had consumed 23 per cent of the funds while whitewashing expenses stood at nine percent. The study found that only 43 per cent of the schools surveyed had usable toilet facilities and funds had not been devoted to ensuring the provision of such facilities to students.
According to the study, the average primary school size in the Punjab stood at 110 students. Chiniot was the district that had the highest per school enrolment – about 142 students per school– while Chakwal had the lowest – about 67 students per school.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.