Stakeholders resent NGO ‘project’ in public schools | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Stakeholders resent NGO ‘project’ in public schools

DERA GHAZI KHAN, Jan 29: Students, teachers and heads of public schools in the district are highly critical of an NGO’s project, allegedly backed by administration, under which it is collecting Rs30 from each of them promising provision of various educational facilities.

The NGO, Saiban Women Development Organisation, reportedly launched the ‘project’ about a month ago with the backing of district education authorities, who in turn claim they were asked by the district co-ordination officer to facilitate the venture.

The NGO, in return for the ‘meager donation’, pledges provision of free stationery and an annual support cash prize for the deserving students in the district. It also promises a cash award for the best teacher, establishment of welfare shop at union council level to provide low-price stationery and other related items, an urgent cash support for teachers’ urgent medical treatment, special annual prizes including a computer, motorcycle, sewing machines and bicycles, besides arrangement of necessary vaccination, holding of meena bazaars, speech contests and other recreational programmes for students and teachers.

Dawn learnt through sources that DCO Capt Asad directed EDO (Finance & Planning) Haibat Ali (who has an additional charge of district officer coordination) to ‘facilitate’ the NGO in collection of necessary data on students for their registration for the project.

DOC Haibat Ali issued a letter (13784 – 13/12/2008) to EDO (Education) Faiz Khosa asking him to facilitate the NGO in its project. The NGO, however, started collecting the donation which was resented by the students, teachers and even heads of some of the institutions.

Punjab Teachers’ Union local chapter president Rehamatullah Quraishi told Dawn he had raised voice against the project in a meeting steered by education authorities.

He was of the view that provision of free education to all was government’s job, and no NGO should extract money from students and teachers on this pretext. He demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.

Some of the students complained that the NGO officials were collecting money without giving any receipts to the donors.

As many as 208,143 male and female students are studying in various government institutions in the district, where 11,000 teachers were performing their duties. Sources in various institutions alleged that at least 50 per cent ‘donations’ had been collected so far.

Both EDO(E) Faiz Khosa and DO(E) Yousif Athar claimed the NGO was allowed to collect the amount after the DCO asked them to facilitate the project.

DCO Capt Asad denied having issued any directions allowing the NGO to collect donations. He, however, said he had asked the officials concerned to facilitate the NGO in data collection.

He said if the NGO was found involved in collecting money, it would be made to return the amount to students and teachers concerned and strict action would be taken against those involved in the scam. NGO president Samia Nusrat refused to comment on the project, while her spokesperson Fasil claimed the project was initiated with the permission of district administration.–Tariq Saeed Birmani.

Source: Dawn