KP govt to hand over 180 low-performing schools to private organisations

KP govt to hand over 180 low-performing schools to private organisations

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planned to hand over the operations and management of its low-performing schools to private organisations insisting that the initiative will improve the quality of education, enrolment rates, and governance in those educational institutions.

The elementary and secondary education department has selected 180 government schools in nine districts, including 145 primary and 35 high and higher secondary ones, for the pilot project, reveal official documents.

It has divided those schools in 35 clusters with each cluster having a high or higher secondary school and four or five ‘feeding’ primary schools.

The project is likely to be launched in the next academic year slated to begin in the next September. The government has already allocated Rs1 billion for it in the current fiscal.

The initiative will be executed on the basis of public-private partnership in the selected areas of Abbottabad, Buner, Haripur, Karak, Kohat, Mansehra, Nowshera, Swabi and Swat districts.

“The low-performing schools are those, where literacy and numeracy rate is below 50 per cent compared to the international standard of 80 per cent and which do not give optimal results,” adviser to the education department on public-private partnership Ubaidullah told Dawn.

He said the government would pay to the selected private organisations Rs1,000 for enrolling each student in 145 primary schools and Rs2,000 for students in 45 high and higher secondary schools.

The adviser said the data showed that the government’s average spending on every student of government schools was Rs3,900.

He said an advertisement would be floated in both regional and national newspapers for the selection of private organisations with experience in managing educational institutions.

“The government is keen about partnering with the most proficient private institutions, which have a strong footprint in education sector and are financially sound to facilitate it in carrying out this activity seamlessly as a public-private partnership. It is willing to support private partners in the rehabilitation of schools as per their needs and expectations,” he said.

The documents reveal that the private partners will be required to enrol at least 120 students in each school handed over to them suggesting at least 20 students in a class.

Out of the total amount, the government will pay 65 per cent to the private partner in advance, while the remaining will be paid after the examination of key performance indicators.

Different surveys show millions of children out of schools in the province.

According to the BISP’s National Socio-Economic Registry Census conducted with the help of the elementary and secondary schoolteachers, the children, who don’t go to school in the province, total 4.7 million.

The Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurement Survey put the number at 3.6 million.

“To enrol out of school children, government needs over 15,000 primary schools, with the same ratio middle, high and higher secondary schools,” an official of the education department told Dawn.

He insisted that only the construction of required primary schools with the current budget allocations would need the government more than 57 years to materialise the ambitious plan of enrolling currently out-of-school children.

The official said in the current dynamic environment, population of the province was growing exponentially and so were the challenges for the provision of education to the people in line with Article 25A of the Constitution and therefore, policymakers were in dire need of innovative, sustainable, pragmatic and financially viable solutions to address them.

“To enrol all out-of-school children, the public-private partnerships are the viable solution as per the industry’s best practices even in advanced economies. Our project has been designed in a sustainable and scalable way so that this pilot can be up-scaled across the province in the next phase,” he said.

Courtesy: Published at Dawn on July 16t 2022