In much-anticipated move Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali has sought support from Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to delay transfer of the Ministry of Education to the provinces under 18th Amendment, sources said here on Wednesday.
Sources said the education minister in his recent meeting with the prime minister pointed out that no necessary spadework has so far been done by the ministry officials so they need time to work out modalities for transfer of subjects to the provinces before June next year.
They claimed that the education minister raised the point before the prime minister that only secretary education was invited for briefing in which the concerned authorities gave details about transfer of ministries to the provinces and no one bothered to inform him about this unprecedented development.
They said the ministry officials are yet to make some concepts clear in their minds including role of provinces with regard to multi-lateral foreign assistance that covers assistance from the banks and UN agencies and bilateral foreign assistance that comprises assistance from any country to Pakistan.
Sources said the Ministry of Education has to take major decision whether or not to reduce its top hierarchy that consists of minister, minister of state, secretary, additional secretary (PMU), senior joint secretary (Admin Wing), JEA (Policy and Planning Wing), JEA (Curriculum Wing), JEA (Projects Wing), JEA (Training Wing) and director monitoring cell.
Currently, there are 115 sanctioned posts from BS-16 to BS-22 and 336 sanctioned posts from BS-01 to BS-15 in the Administrative Wing and the ministry would also have to decide how much reduction in sanctioned posts would be necessary in the future.
The sources said the administrative control of many of the institutions currently being run by the Federal Ministry of Education can be transferred to provinces. These institutions include Urdu Dictionary Board (Karachi), National College of Arts (Lahore), Private Education Institutes Regulatory Authority (PEIRA), Academy of Educational Planning and Management, National Institute of Science and Technical Education (Islamabad), Inter-Board Committee of Chairman, Sindh Madrassatul Islam (Karachi), Dawood College of Engineering and Technology (Karachi), Pakistan National Commission for Unesco (Islamabad) and Centres of Excellence, Area and Pakistan Study Centres.
They opined that the devolution process would leave Ministry of Education with no other option except to simply make policy and deal with foreign-funded scholarships while half of the funds of Higher Education Commission (HEC) would also be transferred to the provinces after transfer of Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education may also transfer powers to the provinces to interact and deal with Deeni Madrassas. According to National Education Census 2005 there are 12,153 Deeni Madrassas in the country in which 1,512,445 students are getting religious education under 54,909 teachers.
Additional Secretary Education Sheghan Sharif Malik talking to this scribe said that as such no decision has been taken to transfer Ministry of Education to the provinces and when they receive directives in this respect then they would act accordingly.
“The Establishment Division has sought record of employees working in the ministry and many other developments are going on at the moment but no decision has so far been taken at any level to transfer education ministry to the provinces,” he said.
Sheghan Sharif Malik said the Ministry of Education is insisting to ensure
uniform curriculum across the country that would help promote patriotism
and develop harmony among all the provinces. To a question, he said when any one asks them to complete spadework for transfer of the ministry to provinces they would do so in line with the rules and procedures.