Rawalpindi-The government has allocated Rs20 billion for Punjab Education Foundation for enrolling 100,000 out-of-school children in current year in the province, said Chairman PEF Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi during an interview with The Nation on Monday.

“At present, there are 2.65 million children enrolled with PEF schools and the strength will be increased under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar,” he said Chairman. He said that the funds would be released soon.

He said that the PEF was striving for promotion of quality education besides providing student-friendly schooling to the students who mostly belong to poor strata.

Likewise, corporal punishment is strictly banned in partner schools which are provided subject specialists for science and English subjects and library books by the PEF to help improve the standard of education, he added.

He informed that the teachers training programs are also being held to polish their skills so that they could teach the children in a batter way. He said the government is also taking keen interest in revamping the infrastructure of the educational institutions. He said the issue of schools registration with educational boards is also under watch and he is struggling hard to push the authorities to get private schools registered earlier.

Chairman Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi was of view that the financial matters in PEF are strictly monitored not only by him but also by government and there is no room for corrupt elements in the foundation. “We use to conduct internal and external audit from international reputed firms to maintain our quality and impartiality,” he said. He said at present there is no ghost child enrolled with any school in the province. “We have made the enrolment policy very strict and transparent to avoid ghost enrolments,” the chairman mentioned.

He said PEF is going to introduce the “Star Teacher Concept” in the province under which those teachers show excels would be granted more perks and privileges by the government. Similarly, the PEF would organize different kinds of programs in the schools such as essay and speech competitions, tableaus, drams and other competition to award the brilliant students and administrations of the schools.

On a question that why PEF was paying less salaries to teachers inducted in 8,700 schools in Punjab, Wasiq replied that PEF is providing quality education to more than 2.65 million underprivileged students through public-private partnership at a very low cast of Rs 550 per student as compared to public sector schools spending Rs 5000 per student with disappointing results.

Despite this, PEF students excel in PEC and BISE examinations in Punjab every year and credit goes to PEF for holding quality assurance and transparently in partner schools each year that provides sound educational base to students, he said. “In remote areas, a qualified teacher is being paid Rs 4000 salary as compared to PEC school teacher who is getting Rs 8000 per month,” he said in response to another question.

“The previous government adopted a step-motherly attitude to PRF partner schools and has not increased funding for the last many years but the PTI government, Punjab CM and education minister to support and patronise PRF schools,” he replied to another query. Chairman PEF Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi said PEF schools are a ray of hope for the poor in Punjab and PTI would never ever let the dreams of needy people shattered.