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Bifurcation of education

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The Punjab government has bifurcated the education ministry into school education and higher education. Rana Mashhood who was the education minister and also held other portfolios quit his position and now hold only the school education ministry. Some claim that it is a good sign, which shows the government’s resolve to focus on education. However, things are not this simple. One has to look at this development with objectivity. On the one hand, the government has employed an army of bureaucrats in six departments ranging from school education to higher education and special education. This army remained unable to yielded desired results and now this further bifurcation of education sector, also seems useless.
If we look at the performance of Mr. Mashhood during his tenure as the education minister, Punjab stands better in terms of infrastructure and overall progress in the education sector, but that is due in part to the better infrastructure already present in the province. Otherwise, non-governmental organisations working in the sector have noted, Punjab is not the most progressive province in terms of education. The minister during his tenure did not do much for the sector.
In fact the Punjab government is handing over public schools to the private sector. A question arises here: If so, why we need a separate ministry for schools? Is this a political gimmick to accommodate a few other politicians to ministries before the election?
Why is there a need for two or more education ministries when Punjab has a long list of secretaries and bureaucrats? The government and the CM must answer these questions to justify their move, otherwise it will be looked upon with suspicion.
It will also be up to Mr. Mashhood to prove himself in the time that he has and show that he is willing to bring about a change in the School Education of the province. As it now, there is much to desire and the role of Mr. Mashhood has not been what was being expected. As an example, the whole debacle of the private school fee issue and the subsequent amendment to the law comes to mind. There too Mr. Mashhood did not play a proactive role and was unable to stop the schools from closing down and the matter is still unresolved. Now handing over Punjab ’s higher education to Zakia Shahnawaz is another question. To prove that the Punjab government is up to the task of giving better education to the masses, a lot more is to be done and simply creating more ministries does not seem to make much of a difference.

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