Ghost schools abound

If you want to see how seriously education is taken in our country along with the plights that afflict it then look no further than the recent case of 38-year-old Mukhtar Hussain from Bhakkar district of southern Punjab. The young official, while monitoring for National Commission for Human Development exposed 23 ghost literacy centers which were running at the cost of about Rs 2,360,000. Instead of rewarding him for his honesty and sincerity for the job he was assigned to, he was dismissed from service. The ex-officer has two children and an extended family to feed. He has submitted an appeal with the DG office for an independent and transparent inquiry into the entire matter.
In the past decade, ghost literacy centers have mushroomed all over Pakistan. Heavy embezzlement, absent teachers, classrooms brimming full with students and no one to teach them, are only some of the problems created due to this negligence. In a report issued in 2009, at least 30,000 ghost schools exist in the country. Imagine the increment in the number ever since, particularly given how apathetic our administrations have been toward the destitute condition of our schools. At times it really does seem as if those who claim concern and interest in our youth’s future, mean very little of what they say.
The need of the hour is renewed commitment to improving education in the country, which is possible by focusing on increasing the budget and launching enhanced and inclusive programs for all grades. This is only achievable with the genuine interest invested by administrations, or else the mismanagement of funds and the opportunistic absence of teachers who take salaries home without working on their students will carry on as it does today. Officers like Mukhtar Hussain are rare and it is simply disappointing how we choose to mistreat their dedication to a worthy cause.

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