By Khalid Khattak in Lahore
AS many as 21 government schools in District Lahore have been non-functional for the last many months, exposing lack of interest and commitment on part of officials concerned.
Sources in the Punjab School Education Department told The News that reports recently submitted by Monitoring and Evaluation Assistants (MEAs) of the Chief Minister’s Monitoring Force disclosed that there were dozens of non-functional schools in each district of the province.
The sources added most of these schools stopped functioning during previous regime because of acute shortage of schoolteachers.
They said some single-teacher schools and shelter-less schools have also become non-functional with the passage of time in different parts of the province.
They said in some cases, there were schools but interestingly there were no students. A number of schools became non-functional after migration of locals from a particular area in the wake of expanding residential societies, they added.
It is learnt that non-availability of buildings and illegal occupations were also the main causes behind non-functional schools.
A senior official commenting over the issue said the government schools could never become non-functional unless the officials concerned pay constant attention in connection with the affairs of the school.
He further said shortage of teachers could be overcome by rationalising the number of teachers working in schools of neighbouring areas, adding that it was responsibility of EDOs to take timely action against the illegal occupants.
“The problems multiply when the concerned shut their eyes and not make efforts to solve the problems,” he added.
The sources said that Secretary School Education Department, Nadeem Ashraf, while taking notice of the situation issued strict instructions to the Education EDOs across the province to explain reasons for non-functioning of schools in their respective districts.
He had also directed the EDOs to make all-out efforts to make the non-functioning schools functioning ones soon after the annual summer vacation, they added.
It is also learnt that the issue regarding non-functional schools would be taken up in meeting of Secretary Schools with Education EDOs on 7 July.
An official from the office of Lahore Education EDO, seeking anonymity, said most of the non-functional schools of the District Lahore were in the areas of Aziz Bhatti Town and Wahga Town.
He said expanding residential societies were major factors behind the schools going non-functional.
“In such cases, locals migrated to other areas owing to which schools are left without any students,” he added.
When contacted, Secretary School Education Department, Nadeem Ashraf, confirmed that the matter regarding non-functional schools would be taken up in the meeting scheduled for July 7.
He said rationalisation of teaching staff in government schools was underway in order to engage surplus staff in schools, which were facing acute shortage of teachers.