Thursday June 08, 2023

‘Despite hefty education budget, millions still out of school’

By Our Correspondent
June 24, 2022

Opposition legislators in the provincial assembly on Thursday lamented that millions of children are still out of school in the province, despite the fact that billions of rupees are allocated every year for the education sector by the Sindh government.

The lawmakers expressed dismay over the “dismal” performance of the provincial administration in the education sector as the PA continued for a fourth day its general debate on the newly presented Sindh government budget for the financial year 2022-23.

Commenting on the new budget, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Firdous Shamim Naqvi cited a report that claims that up to seven million children across the province are out of school.

Recalling the chief minister’s statement of presenting a people-friendly budget, Naqvi said that the new provincial budget is in fact nothing except “a document containing a jugglery of statistics”.

The PTI legislator, who earlier served as the PA opposition leader, said the Sindh government has contracted the services of non-governmental organisations to carry out a number of vital tasks related to the social sectors.

Pointing out that the Rescue 1122 service has been functioning in Punjab since 2005, he congratulated the Sindh CM on finally launching the same emergency service in his province, albeit after a delay of several years.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Sadia Javed assured the House that her party is committed to developing Karachi, which is why, she said, mega development projects like the Malir Expressway are being constructed in the city.

She said the Sindh government has presented a reasonable budget in such unsatisfactory circumstances when inflation has become a global phenomenon due to the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine. She also praised the PPP leadership’s political wisdom for ridding the country of the PTI’s “incompetent” government.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Basit Siddiqui said the provincial government has completely failed to resolve Karachiites’ basic issues related to the disposal of municipal waste and the provision of potable water.

PTI lawmaker Saeed Afridi said that given the massive spending on the education sector in Sindh every year, ideally speaking, people from all over the world should have been coming to the province for schooling.

In reality, however, the situation is that feudal landlords in the province have transformed government schools into their personal Utaaq (drawing rooms), added the legislator.

PPP lawmaker Abdul Razzaq Raja lamented that no one discusses the pressing issues of labourers, farmers and rickshaw drivers in assemblies. He said that the unbearable economic conditions have compelled hard-pressed rickshaw drivers to torch their vehicles, but no Land Cruiser owner has ever taken such a drastic step.

Raja said the people of his constituency in District Malir of Karachi have to rely on farming to feed their families, adding that water reservoirs should be built for them.

Speaking on the provincial budget, MQM lawmaker Jawed Hanif became emotional and started weeping in the house as he urged the provincial government to find an island to shift the urban residents of the province there if the administration is unable to give them their basic rights.