PEF’s broke partner schools dread new semester

LAHORE:04 August: Partners of the Punjab government’s much-touted public-private partnership school programmes, under the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), are in a fix because they have not been paid their full budget for the past three months. The timing is all the more crucial as schools are about to open across the province. The PEF provides financial and other assistance to its partners, which are private schools and NGOs. They in turn provide free education to children. The programme provides a monthly fee for each student, admitted under the programme, to private schools. K-P to ‘standardise’ education in 402 public schools Advertisement The Punjab government, calling the initiative a success, has recently announced to expand it further. The PEF, through its partners, outsources these public schools to its partners, who observers say, have been underperforming. The partners, on the other hand, say they are financially stressed and worried as they have not been paid for several months. After a warning by its private partners, the foundation released half of the due payments to partner schools across the province. However, the schools say only 50% of the money does not cover their expenses as they have to pay teachers and cover other costs. Public and private schools across the province will open from August 15 after summer vacations. Talking to The Express Tribune, a PEF partner school official, requesting anonymity, said the government should take note of these circumstances as there are no fees charged from students. “We are totally dependent on the partnership programme’s funding. Because of the delay, we are unable to make payments to our staff and are also behind on our utility bills.” Govt considering ‘smart boards’ at public schools He said that PEF partners announced a protest which was called off because of half of the payments were made and an assurance was given that the remainder would be transferred soon. He said, however, that the remaining payment was still pending and the schools were still waiting for the other half. “The month has ended and another payment is now also due, while the schools will have to be opened this month.” When contacted, PEF Managing Director Tariq Mahmood confirmed to The Express Tribune that half of the payments had been made and the other half would be released soon. Giving reasons for the delay, he said, “50% was made because we have not received our budget”.Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2017.

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