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October 6, 2019

FDE’s mismanagement leaves 100 school buses to rust away

Lahore

October 6, 2019

Islamabad : Enough to expose waste of taxpayer money and mismanagement of those at the helm, around 100 buses are rusting away in government schools of Islamabad at a time when many colleges are short of transport vehicles for students and staff members.

They make half of the yellow 60-seater, diesel-powered and 7,800cc engine buses, which were distributed to the capital’s public sector educational institutions under the Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme from January 2017 to January 2019.

The relevant officials insist that around 100 buses aren’t used by schools due to the unavailability of fuel and driver salary funds.

They call the distribution of buses during the last PML-N government unjust saying the schools got more buses than colleges though the latter desperately needed them.

“First, the buses were given away (by the FDE) without ascertaining where they needed the most and second, the schools neither have sanctioned posts of drivers and conductors nor have they got fuel funds from the FDE, so the buses are parked on school compounds without being used for a long time,” an official told ‘The News’.

He claimed that for many schools, the reforms programme buses were of no use, especially junior model schools, as most students lived nearby and parents walked them to campus.

“If compared with colleges, the schools don’t need buses,” he said.

The official said many buses parked in the open for over two years had gathered rust spots.

He said H-8 Islamabad Model Postgraduate College, F-7/2 Islamabad Model Postgraduate College for Girls, F-7/4 Islamabad Model Postgraduate College for Girls, H-9 Islamabad Model College for Boys and G-6/3 Islamabad College for Boys had sufficient fuel budget but they had few, old buses forcing their students to come to college clinging to the back of public transport vehicles or sitting on their rooftops.

“It really pains me to see scores of college students, especially girls, wait for public transport at bus stops every morning. The use of buses parked in schools for one reason or the other can alleviate their misery,” he said. A teacher of an I-8/1 girls school insisted that her educational institution got a yellow bus last year but it had been parked in a playground since then.

She called the non-use of buses waste of public money and blamed it on the mismanagement and neglect of the FDE and Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, which has its administrative control.

A lecturer of the Islamabad Model College for Girls, Bhara Kahu, said it’s been around two years that a nearby boy school’s bus was parked in her college’s playground as the school didn’t have a proper, secure parking space.

She said a girl school’s bus was also there to decay. A teacher of the Islamabad Model Postgraduate College H-8 said his college had only three buses, so most of the students from far-off areas didn’t avail themselves of the transport facility. “This time, we received over 700 applications for bus service but only 200 of them were accepted. If the FDE can’t buy buses for us, it should hand over the reforms programme’s unused vehicles to us to the relief of our students, who face a commuting nightmare daily from home to college and back,” he said. A relevant FDE official acknowledged the unfair distribution of buses under the Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme and said the education secretary’s intervention could address the issue simply. "Only a formal order (by the secretary) is required for the handover of unused buses to the colleges with the need and capacity to operate them," he said.

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