ISLAMABAD-Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) despite purchasing 200 buses for educational institutions has failed in making the fleet fully functional due to non-allocation of operational budget, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.

Purchase of buses was started under Prime Minister Education Reform Programme and in 2018 the Federal Directorate of Education completed the purchase of 200 buses and handed them over to different educational institutions.

Officials informed The Nation that out of 200 buses less than 100 are functional and rest are standing in respective institutions.

Officials said that Federal Directorate of Education provided buses without planning and allocating the budget of the buses due to which the educational institutions are unable to run the expenses of the transport of the school.

“There is no budget for drivers, conductors and fuel of the buses while schools also do not have sufficient funds to make the buses operational,” official said.

Officials also said that buses were provided on priority basis to primary schools in rural areas and girls’ schools and colleges for the facility of the students; however the purpose is not being met despite passage of more than a year.

Officials also said that as the buses are dysfunctional, students still have to arrange their own means of transport to reach educational institutions from far flung areas.

Meanwhile, students residing nearby schools do not prefer availing school’s transport.

Officials said that the post-graduate colleges were also in dire need of transport because of students’ strength, but Federal Directorate of Education provided fewer buses to colleges.

“College students travel from far areas but they do not have buses despite administration offered managing the finances to run the buses,” official said.

“The distribution was also not fair,” official said.

Official also said that schools cannot arrange funds and colleges do not have buses, while institutions running the buses already had allocated budget for transport.

There are 423 educational institutions under Federal Directorate of Education and previous government had launched PERM worth Rs2.7 billion and provision of buses was part of the programme.

“Around 70 buses are operational only,” official said.

When contacted Acting Director General Federal Directorate of Education Syed Umair Javed, he said that the department has repeatedly sent summary to Finance Division for allocation of funds.

However, he said that majority of buses are functional and Federal Directorate of Education is running transport on cost-sharing basis to facilitate the students.

He said that there was no fund allocation in the project for drivers, conductors, fuel and repairing of these buses.

He said Finance Division has been also asked for creation of posts for in-interrupted transport service but issue is still pending.

“Finance Division should be asked why education is a low priority,” he remarked.

Earlier, under first phase of Prime Minister Education Reform Programme Federal Directorate of Education purchased 70 faulty buses costing Rs460 million for public sector schools.

A committee comprising technical members, drivers and head of the institutions identified that the buses were facing mechanical faults in brakes, roofs, gauge meters, front screens, and wiper machines, weak engine, gear oil leakage, gearbox problem and weak Kamani.

The Prime Minister Education Reform Programme was launched in 2016 to reform and upgrade 423 schools and colleges functional under Federal Directorate of Education.

Out of nearly Rs4 billion allocated for the programme, Rs1.5 billion was sanctioned for the provision of 200 buses to educational institutions.