ISLAMABAD-The Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education on Wednesday opposed approving new development schemes proposed by the Education Ministry for next fiscal year 2019-20.

Chairperson of the committee Rahila Magsi presided the meeting to scrutinize the Public Sector Development Project (PSDP) proposed by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) for the next financial year.

Additional Secretary Education Anwar-ul-Hassan Bukhari presented the Rs4972.227 million budget proposal before the committee for next financial year.

He told the committee that the ministry has proposed 33 projects for the fiscal year 2019-20 including 08 on going, 13 new projects and 12 approved projects.

He said that the ministry has demanded Rs1233.526 million for its ongoing projects, Rs577.701million for approved and Rs 3161million for new projects.

However, the senators including Mehar Taj Roghani, Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Nauman Wazir Khattak and Rukhsana Bangish Manzoor Ahmed Kakar expressed displeasure over the ministry’s presentation seeking approval of the PSDP.

The situation became tense when bitter arguments and counter-arguments between senator Nauman Wazir Khattak and Additional Secretary Anwar ul Hassan Bukhari given on the issue allocation of funds for maintenance of government schools.

The additional secretary briefed the committee that no fund allocation has been done for maintenance as there is no provision of such allocation in recurring budget.

The discussion remained stuck on the issue of maintenance of 423 government schools of ICT under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

The additional secretary said that above Rs two billion were allocated in a scheme (Prime Minister Education Reforms Program) in 2016 for the upgradation of 200 schools. He also claimed that 80 percent work under the scheme has been completed and 236 rooms have been constructed.

He also said that the Area Education Officers (AEOs) have been tasked to calculate the maintenance requirements in rest of the schools of the city and report will be finalized in a month. He also said that the ministry cannot amend the PSDP for the maintenance of schools.

However, the legislatures expressing displeasure asked the ministry to provide safety and hygienic environment to students in the existing schools before constructing new schools it the city.

Senator Rana Maqbool remarked that the ministry should re-appropriate allocation of funds and spend on maintenance of schools viewing their dilapidated situation.

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said that no new school should be built unless already existing schools are repaired.

He also said that the ministry should present the report on upgradation of 200 schools.

“There is no need of new institutions until previously constructed are repaired and maintained following the national standard,” he said.

The committee expressing shock and displeasure over the ministry’s performance and recommended not to approve new schemes.

However, it recommended to continue the ongoing projects.

The ministry of FE&PT for next fiscal year had set its objectives to increase literacy rate and reduce out-of-school children through formal education.

It also asked to improve quality of education by providing basic facilities in institutions located in ICT. Provide training facilities for capacity building of head teachers, education officers and managers.