Bureaucracy of higher education department and lack of finances are big hurdles in the way of quality education
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: I should like to bring to the notice of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government and Imran khan that even though the provincial authorities have allocated an exemplary budget for education — more than any other provincial government — the bureaucracy of the higher education department and a lack of finances are big hurdles in the way of turning Imran Khan’s vision of quality education into a reality. There are hundreds of examples of mismanagement and negligence on the part of the department concerned. I would like to refer here to the scholarship called the Faculty Development Support Programme, which was announced three years ago to improve the qualification standards of college teachers. As such, participation and enrolment in an improved BS college programme was also encouraged. It is regretted that this scholarship for college teachers is yet to see the light of day. The K-P higher education department asked teachers, after a year and a half, to apply again to the Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency (ETEA), but the negligence and misgovernance doesn’t stop here, even after the ETEA finalised the list of eligible scholars after much scrutiny.
I may claim with careful analysis that the process involved in awarding the scholarships is arguably the slowest ever in the history of Pakistan. The main aim of any scholarship is to provide financial assistance to scholars so that their higher studies are not interrupted or affected because of financial constraints. Like all other scholars of K-P, I tried to remind the focal person concerned about the delay in the process a number of times and in response to each of my messages, I received the same response: “very soon”. If three years are not “soon” enough, then we can only pray for the completion of the scholarship award process. We have no forum to raise our concerns because there is only one director to deal with matters concerning the entire province. I hope Imran Khan and the provincial government address our concerns. Mere rhetoric of budget allocation for education will not bear any fruit; the money needs to be disbursed as well.
Muhammad Shakeelur Rehman
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2015.
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