PML-N lawmaker takes govt to task over slashed budget for Islamabad schools
Islamabad (TP) June 27, 2020: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legislator Mehnaz Akber Aziz took the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government over meagre allocations for schools in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and the massive cut in the higher education budget.
Speaking in the National Assembly during the budget session, she that the population growth of Pakistan was almost 2.5 per cent and we are the fifth largest nation in the world and almost 50 per cent of the population is below 18 years. “We already had 202 million out-of-school children but after the Covid-19, it has further exacerbated, which the government needs to take into consideration.
Mehnaz Akber Aziz said that under the IMF pressure, the PTI government slashed education budget, which was deplorable and she would not allow this go unchallenged.
The PML-N lawmaker said that the federal government has increased only one per cent for Islamabad’s 400 public sector schools which was unacceptable. She said that the government has also not made allocations for development budget and no funds have been earmarked for general operating expenditures that cover purchasing stationery and textbooks. The PML-N lawmaker posed the question if the government was intending to privatize all government schools. This is deplorable.
The lawmaker said that the NCHD has become a burden on the exchequer and it should be closed after paying dues of the employees under a golden handshake policy.
Mehnaz Akber Aziz said that the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court has bound private schools to take the fee to the 2017 level but they did not and they continue to charge full fee despite the fact that the students and teachers were not going to schools after the closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said that her party would support the government in the education sector and sustainability and continuity must go on.
The PML-N lawmaker said that the PTI-led Punjab government closed down Danish schools and Punjab Education Foundation which were the revolutionary programmes of Shehbaz Sharif government. “Education should be the number one priority.of all of us irrespective of political affiliations, as these are our children,” she said.
While talking about the HEC budget, she said that instead of increasing allocations, they have been frozen at Rs47 billion despite the fact that the children of the common man go to public sector universities in the country.
The legislator said that the other day, in Balochistan, when students protested against the poor internet connectivity, police used force against them and many students were arrested.
While talking about the new curriculum the government was intending to implement from the next year, Mehnaz Akber Aziz said that the relevant ministry should share the new curriculum with all stakeholders before its implementation. “There should be a roadmap, as the government has failed to regulate private schools, how will it implement it,” she said.
While talking about the reopening of educational institutions, she said that the government should be in no hurry to open schools, which will put the lives of thousands of children at risk. She said that a higher body should be formed the federal and provincial level to look into education matters as amidst the rising number of coronavirus cases children’s lives could not be put at risk. Mehnaz Akber Aziz said that the government must give first priority to education, make legislation on it and also legislate about their safety and nutrition.
She also called for making legislation on child workers issues to save them from domestic violence.